NI DPP questions value of on-the-run letters

Tuesday 10 June 2014 17.23
Barra McGrory said the assurances were not an impediment to prosecution
Barra McGrory said the assurances were not an impediment to prosecution

Northern Ireland's chief prosecutor has said letters to on-the-run republicans telling them they are not wanted by police are of no value to perpetrators.

Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory said the assurances were not an impediment to prosecution if new evidence emerges and described the government scheme as flawed.

He added that he did not believe any leading members of Sinn Féin had received the messages as part of a peace process system for telling people living outside the UK that they were not sought for conflict crimes.

The senior legal figure said: "Anyone who is in receipt of one of these letters ought not to be sleeping easy in their beds."

Police are reviewing the cases of those who had received them and a judge is due to report back on the issue later this month.

The DPP told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of MPs, sitting at Stormont, that if evidence was uncovered by police they should "consider that as potential prosecution and if it meets the evidential test then the individual will be prosecuted".

He added: "I would argue as a prosecutor that they are of no value to them."

He said the letters made clear they were only good on the date they were received.

"It is my professional opinion, as the chief prosecutor of the jurisdiction, that these letters are of little benefit."