G8 summit's impact on legal cases infuriating for judge
A Crown Court Judge has questioned the need for the PSNI to deploy more than half of its 7,000 police officers to duties related to the G8 summit.
Judge Piers Grant made the comment at the Crown Court in Londonderry when he was told by a prosecution barrister that a police officer involved in a criminal trial which is due to start on June 12 was not available to attend on that date because he had been seconded to perform G8 duties.
The staging of the summit in Lough Erne golf and hotel resort has prompted the biggest police operation in the history of Northern Ireland.
Among the world leaders present will be US President Barack Obama and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
They'll be joined by the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK.
The EU will also be represented during the two-day summit.
A total of 8,000 police officers – 4,400 of them from Northern Ireland and 3,600 from England and Wales – will be on duty on the days leading up to and during the 39th G8 summit.
The PSNI will have at its disposal armoured cars, water cannons and Olympics-style fast response police boats which will be used to patrol the stretch of Lough Erne bordering the resort.
Judge Grant said he wanted to know what the nature of the officer's duties were and he said he also wanted to know why those duties made the officer unavailable to attend a criminal trial.
"This idea that every police officer in Northern Ireland should be on duty at the G8 Summit is a bit on the absurd side", Judge Grant said.
He adjourned the matter for one week.