Starmer review

Tucked away at para 1.13.

“It cannot be said with certainty whether the outcomes of these cases would have been different if particular decisions had been taken differently.”

For the layman, imagine Match of the Day and the endless slow motion replays and the blethering of the pundits.  “Well, Alan, should he have scored there?”

“Well maybe not Gary, but his decision making has to be in question”

I wonder what the report cost? Is anyone interested?

Child victims

In March 2012 , having unsuccessfully prosecuted a case in respect of a child who, at the time of the alleged offences was under four, I wrote a report to Roger Davison, then Regional prosecutor, PPS Lisburn.

I set out the facts of the case and voiced my concerns for similar cases, in the future. I was concerned , because of the professional advice which I had received ,about extremely young witnesses and their capacity to give evidence.

My report did not rate even an acknowledgement from the Regional Prosecutor, who went on to be involved with the Mairia Cahill case.

The public should recognise and be concerned about the quality of the criminal justice system. It would be a mistake to think that Mairia Cahill , AA and BB are exceptions.

Belfast Telegraph misses the point

Today’s ‘Editor’s viewpoint’ , unsurprisingly, misses the point completely. The test for prosecution is not and never was an issue in MC,AA and BB. It does not feature in Starmer’s report.

Study instead Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy and the Peter Principle.

Look at the officials involved in this shambles and ask if they were up to the job.

Ask them what the organisation expected of them. The answer will be ‘stats’.

In my own experience , the high command  was not interested in issues about victims, for example , about the evidence of young children , there were no medals for that.

Every organisation is taken over by the bureaucrats and every person in it is promoted beyond his/her level of ability. The PPS is no different.

There are no bad soldiers only bad officers

Kier Starmer made a number of criticisms of the PPS. Any prosecuting barrister could have told him of the failings if he had cared to ask. The service provided to victims has always been wanting. Frequently the defence is represented by senior and junior counsel attended by a solicitor and frequently the prosecution is in the hands of junior counsel or employed counsel attended by an unqualified clerk.

Worse still is the enormous pressure place on these clerks, who are left to be the conduit between victims, the witnesses, the court, the police, the directing officer and counsel. None of the PPS high command, mentioned by Starmer, has ever had a career prosecuting  in the Crown Court and they are rarely seen there.

The problems suffered by the three complainants are not new. The victim is less well looked after than the accused. For example in Craigavon, the PPS has no dedicated , private, room in which to consult with victims. It was taken off them without a fight.

Of course like all organisations, found out at last , the promise is for new organisational structures. I’m surprised that nobody said “we have learned lessons”.

All the reorganisation in the world will be of no avail until there is a culture change at the heart of the PPS. Less obsession with ‘stats’ and more interest in the court process would be a start. The Irish Times  today says  that the two counsel involved have reported themselves to the Bar Council. Let’s see what happens to the civil servants, responsible for delivering the service.

Meanwhile Napoleon’s dictum is as relevant as ever.

Mairia Cahill-Spring offensive

Quite out of the blue the other day, she contacted me via Facebook messenger. She suggested that I had written ‘horrible blogs’ about her.

Puzzled by this , given that I have written nothing about her for six months and suspecting Republican journalism, I asked for particulars. I even re-read my blogs, which were factual.

My blogs were ‘out of order’. ‘I was raped . And abused. As were other children…I didn’t make myself a public figure’ This was somewhat startling. Some of these allegations were new to me.I suggested, in order to de-fuse things, that she might be having a bad day and I thanked her for her insight.

Undaunted, she replied “if you continue to write in the vein you have , I’m going to the police.[The venue was not specified]

What can the reader deduce from this contact , which has ceased since I suggested that her messages might themselves be harassment?

1. She is a sad figure, who believes her own publicity. Mostly concocted by others to beat up SF/PIRA. [see DUP, HMG, FG]

2. She may well have been the subject of crime for which the perpetrators, her erstwhile Republican buddies, have escaped justice.

3.She is intimately related to the inner circle of Republicanism.

4. She would have given little thought [and made no mention] re the murder of my parents.

5. She thinks that she is ‘ the girl in the big picture’.

6. Interestingly, she told me that she was willing to give evidence against her alleged rapist but that the prosecution pulled the plug.

But let’s suspend judgement till we hear from Kier, who is currently on the hustings for Labour.

I am told , by the way , that she has issued similar threats to others, some of whom have contacted the police.

Some might say that Republicans can never quite shrug off the iron fist of Franco and Hitler….

Gerry Adams, fresh evidence of membership

Mairia Cahill , in an interview with Michael Reade on LMFM said that Adams “was responsible as a head of an armed movement for the murder and torture of thousands of people on this island”.

Readers  might imagine that  a grand niece of a member of the Army Council is well placed to know that.

One hopes that the PSNI have obtained a statement to this effect from her and submitted it to the deputy director of the PPS for consideration with the rest of the file.