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No prosecution over Shankill bomber Sean Kelly Belfast shopping centre incident

Sean Kelly

Shankill bomber Sean Kelly will not face prosecution over an incident at a Belfast shopping centre last month, it has emerged.

Footage circulated on social media in May showed Kelly being restrained by others inside the Flax Centre in north Belfast.

Justice Minister Naomi Long said she had referred the incident to police after seeing the video, while the DUP said it raised the issue with Secretary of State Brandon Lewis.

Kelly was convicted of the 1993 IRA bombing of a fish shop on the Shankill Road in which nine civilians were killed. He received nine life sentences for his part in the atrocity, but was released in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

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Shankill bomber Sean Kelly during the incident at the Flax Centre Eurospar

Shankill bomber Sean Kelly during the incident at the Flax Centre Eurospar

Shankill bomber Sean Kelly during the incident at the Flax Centre Eurospar

Following the emergence of the video last month, the families of some of the Shankill bomb victims called for Kelly’s licence to be revoked

Kelly was later interviewed by the PSNI and a report was passed to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

Now it has emerged, however, that the PPS has decided not to prosecute.

"The key evidence in this case was a clip of video footage which clearly only captured part of a continuing incident," a PPS spokesperson told the BBC.

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Shankill bomber Sean Kelly being restrained during a confrontation in shops in Ardoyne

Shankill bomber Sean Kelly being restrained during a confrontation in shops in Ardoyne

Shankill bomber Sean Kelly being restrained during a confrontation in shops in Ardoyne

"It was considered that the footage, by itself, was incapable of providing a reasonable prospect of conviction for any offence.

"It did not provide any context to the events which had been recorded such as how any confrontation had commenced or the circumstances in which a man holding what appeared to be a thin metal rod came to be in possession of it."

The spokesperson added that "there was no evidence available from any witnesses that could have provided the missing context".

"In these circumstances, it was considered that it would not be possible for the prosecution to prove to the criminal standard of proof any narrative of events consistent with the commission of a criminal offence," they said.

The spokesperson said the PPS acknowledges the "level of concern" caused by the video and appreciates the outcome will be disappointing for some, however the decision was reached "only after a most careful examination and consideration of the evidence and information available".

Belfast Telegraph