Belfast Telegraph

New DPP Stephen Herron tells of his pride at being appointed to role

By Mark Edwards

A solicitor who helped transform the Public Prosecution Service has been appointed as its new head.

Stephen Herron will succeed Barra McGrory as Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Herron, a solicitor with extensive experience in criminal law, currently serves as acting deputy DPP. He will take over on January 2.

He became senior assistant director in 2013, taking the lead on a range of criminal justice reform initiatives and overall responsibility for the prosecution of 50,000 cases annually.

He said: "I am delighted to accept the post of DPP. I have worked in the service for the last 15 years and it is an honour to have the opportunity to take on this role."

Attorney General John Larkin said: "I have already had the pleasure of working with Stephen in his current role and in other senior roles within the PPS and I look forward to working with him as he shapes the Public Prosecution Service of the future.

"It is an agreeable duty to pay tribute to Barra McGrory on his retirement as director and to thank him for generous and committed public service in that role."

Mr Herron played a leading part in the transformation programme for the PPS.

This involved the roll-out of a digital programme across courts, creation of specialist prosecutors for murder and serious offences, the streamlining of regional services, and redesigning the support provided to victims and witnesses.

He will now have to tackle legacy issues that plagued Mr McGrory during his six years in the role.

The outgoing DPP said this week that any amnesty for soldiers and policeman involved in crimes during the Troubles would be "questionable".

The UK Government has inserted a question regarding an amnesty in a consultation on legacy issues here, leading to a backlash from Sinn Fein.

Mr McGrory also received heavy criticism from unionist and Tory politicians after reopening cases against soldiers involved in killings during the Troubles.

Separately yesterday, Eileen Ewing was appointed as new president of the Law Society.

Ms Ewing is an experienced family law solicitor who has been practising in Belfast for more than 30 years.

The Law Society acts as the regulatory authority governing the professional conduct of solicitors.

Ms Ewing said: "I'm honoured to accept the office of president of the Law Society of Northern Ireland and I am eagerly anticipating my new role.

"Having served as a council member of the Law Society since 2009, I fully understand the important role the society plays in regulating and representing the interests of solicitors and clients as well as the invaluable contribution the solicitor profession makes to the local community and business throughout Northern Ireland.

"As I take up my presidency I do so during a period of great change and uncertainty, not least regarding the impact of Brexit.

"As president, my priority will be to ensure that the Law Society remains at the very forefront of justice issues in Northern Ireland, working on behalf of our members and in the public interest.

"As president, I will continue to promote the legal services which our members offer and in particular to local businesses who will require legal advice."

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