Belfast Telegraph

Iris won’t face any charges ...but now Robinsons may sue

By Adrian Rutherford

Legal action is being considered by the Robinson family after it emerged Iris Robinson will not be prosecuted over business dealings involving her teen ex-lover.

The Public Prosecution Service has confirmed that the former DUP MP won’t face charges over her financial dealings with Kirk McCambley.

A criminal investigation had been launched after the BBC’s Spotlight programme revealed that Mrs Robinson had secured £50,000 in loans from property developers to bankroll her then lover’s riverside café business.

But the PPS announced yesterday that after “careful consideration” of evidence, the First Minister’s wife would not be prosecuted.

“Following careful consideration of all the available evidence a decision has been taken not to prosecute this case,” a PPS spokeswoman said.

The PPS had spent several weeks examining a file sent by the PSNI following its inquiry, launched in the wake of the Spotlight investigation.

The programme revealed how Mrs Robinson, who was then an MP, MLA and a member of Castlereagh Borough Council, had embarked on an affair and had obtained two £25,000 contributions from property businessmen.

That money was paid to Mr McCambley, then aged 19, to help him launch his Lock Keeper’s Inn business in South Belfast.

Spotlight said Mrs Robinson (61) did not declare her dealings at Stormont or Westminster, and failed to declare an interest when Mr McCambley was awarded the lease by Castlereagh council.

In a statement last night, a Robinson family spokesman said all legal options were now “under active consideration”.

“We note the decision of the Public Prosecution Service,” he said. “In the year since the Spotlight programme, with the police investigation and council investigation ongoing, we have amassed substantial material demonstrating serious and damaging inaccuracies in the BBC Spotlight programme.

“Mrs Robinson will be making, through her solicitor, a detailed statement following the publication of the report commissioned by the council and all legal options are now under active consideration.”

The BBC also issued a statement defending its investigation.

“The issues Spotlight uncovered during its investigation of several months into Iris Robinson were of significant public interest and were well sourced,” it said.

The statement added: “The programme was a piece of responsible journalism and a matter of public importance.”

The BBC said it was confident the programme was balanced and accurate. Since the revelations, Mrs Robinson, who attempted suicide after admitting the affair to her husband, has been receiving medical treatment for depression and resigned all political positions.

The PSNI probe was launched within days of the Spotlight programme being aired. At the time, a police spokesperson said: “The investigation will seek to establish whether any criminal offence has been committed by Iris Robinson, MP, MLA, and by any other person referred to in the programme.”

The investigation was headed by Detective Chief Superintendent Roy McComb, head of the PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch.

His department specialises in complex financial investigations.

Last summer Mrs Robinson was interviewed by officers as part of the police investigation.

At the time detectives were photographed taking boxes of papers from the offices of Castlereagh council, where Mrs Robinson was a long-serving member.

But no evidence was found that Mrs Robinson had broken any law during the process leading to Mr McCambley winning the lease.

Mrs Robinson has retired from public life, while Mr McCambley has left Northern Ireland.

Story so far

Last summer Iris Robinson was interviewed by police officers as part of the PSNI investigation. Lock Keeper’s Inn owner Kirk McCambley also confirmed that he had been questioned and subsequently released without charge. At the time detectives were photographed taking boxes of papers from the offices of Castlereagh Borough Council, where the First Minister’s wife was a long-serving member.

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