The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has taken a decision to prosecute two police officers for a range of offences following consideration of the evidence submitted in an investigation file by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland.
After careful consideration of the complex and substantial file submitted by the Police Ombudsman in connection with its Operation Warwick investigation, it has been decided that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the two officers reported for misconduct in public office. The prosecutions relate to numerous incidents including the alleged sharing of imagery taken at the scenes of sudden deaths.
It follows a decision to prosecute one individual for three counts of improper use of a public electronic communications network contrary to the Communications Act 2003 following the submission of a separate file by the PSNI. The individual is being prosecuted in connection with the alleged sharing of imagery captured at the scenes of sudden deaths.
Four families connected to one or both investigations after the death of a loved one in sudden circumstances have been informed of the outcome of their respective files by the PPS.
PPS Assistant Director Martin Hardy said the PPS would continue to engage with the families involved as the two separate prosecutions progress.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- All decisions by the PPS are taken strictly in accordance with the Test for Prosecution which involves two stages. The Test for Prosecution is met if, in relation to an identifiable suspect, the available evidence is sufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of a conviction (the Evidential Test) and if prosecution is in the public interest (the Public Interest Test). The Evidential Test must be passed first before the Public Interest Test is considered. Further information can be found in the PPS Code for Prosecutors.
- As criminal proceedings will commence in due course and each defendant has the right to a fair trial, it is extremely important to protect the integrity of any future trial that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice those proceedings. For this reason, there will be no further comment from the PPS on these decisions.
- The matter relating to the PONI file is being dealt with by way of indictable summons. The PPS is working to finalise court papers whereupon they will be served on each defendant and the case listed for first appearance in the magistrates’ court.
- The matter relating to the PSNI file is already before the courts and is next listed before Newtownards Magistrates Court on 2 May 2023. You should confirm all court dates with the NI Courts and Tribunal Service.
- Media queries for the PPS should be referred to the Communications Unit by emailing email@example.com inside office hours. The out of hours press officer can be contacted on 07920 271 804, 07920 418844 or 07341 800254.