Editor's Viewpoint: PPS needs to show a little more humanity
The decision by the Public Prosecution Service to charge the parents of the toddler Sophie Anderson with "abduction" was bizarre, to say the least. The little girl, who been in foster care, was reported missing on Monday, but she was found safe in Scotland two days ago.
Subsequently her parents Lucy Anderson and Stuart Creaney appeared in court in Armagh on the abduction charge, but the district judge wisely ruled that they had suffered enough, and they were give a 12 -month conditional discharge.
The judge also pointed out that the couple would face restrictions in access to their daughter.
However the child's grandmother Cynthia Creaney rightly and courageously called for a review of the PPS and said that their action had caused only more heartbreak and suffering, in a situation that was already fraught with difficulty.
Obviously there is an over-riding necessity for the law to be enforced properly in all, and often complex, situations concerning family relationships.
However, there is also a need for the law to be applied sensitively and flexibly, and this includes the whole field of social welfare.
Clearly such an option was not taken in this instance, and the PPS is rightly being criticised for its legalistic and heavy-handed approach.
It is significant that the PPS is yet again being subjected to adverse publicity for not knowing and not doing better.
The Service has no easy task to perform, but a little more humanity and common sense in the fulfilment of its duties would go a long way.