Aren’t we missing something, Dear Reader?
During the vexed times when Sinn Fein/IRA were negotiating with Blair and matters such as decommissioning, or the lack of it, on-the-runs and Royal Pardons were being discussed there was a class of person for whom there was a difficulty. The murderer such as Martin McGuinness or Brian Gillen, who had not been convicted. If you had a conviction, a Royal Pardon solved it. If you were outside Northern Ireland you got a letter. What to do with the rest? Given the level of detailed negotiation and subsequent events, there must , at least , have been an understanding about their future.
Try this. Unless the participants commit a further offence, HMG will ensure that nobody will be prosecuted for a crime committed prior to the GFA. Should the PSNI arrest, charge and/or report someone on the list for an offence pre-GFA , HMG will ensure that , even if there is evidence which passes the test for prosecution, the prosecuting authority will be advised that prosecution is not in the public interest.
The legal basis for this is the Shawcross Doctrine. The executive can overrule the law officers in certain circumstances. Originally , regard had to be given to “the effect which a prosecution successful or unsuccessful as the case may be would have on public morale or order”.
Dominic Grieve also included ” where necessary to safeguard national security”.
Does this explain the paralysis re Gerry Adams, the dropping of a case against McGuinness in the 1980s, the disappearance of the file in Operation Taurus and the remarks of the investigators into the Enniskillen bomb? Does it explain the shock articulated by McGuinness when Adams was arrested and the mention of dark forces. Does it explain Bobby Storey’s guldering on a west Belfast platform? [ the caterpillar, before he was the butterfly]
Prosecutions are going nowhere, unless it is now in the public interest to let them.