Commenting on today’s decision by the PPS to set aside 15 Magistrates’ Court decisions, Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People said,
“My thoughts are with the victims and the families involved in these cases. After showing strength in taking part in the difficult process of criminal proceedings, it will be distressing to hear these convictions will not stand due to a technical error.
“We understand that 11 of the victims involved were children at the time the offences occurred between 1973 and 2009 and are now all adults.
“I acknowledge the steps being taken by PPS to respond to the situation and to make sure there is support in place for the victims and survivors. It is of upmost urgency that it reaches decisions on whether any new prosecutions will now be brought.
“The Department of Justice should immediately assess whether there is a need for a change to the law to rectify this and must review internal processes to make sure something like this does not happen again. I will be writing to the Department and will seek to bring forward my meeting with the PPS as a matter of urgency
“It is important to note we understand this error does not affect any offences which have taken place since 2009. I continue to urge anyone affected by sexual violence and abuse to contact the police and social services."
- The PPS has engaged with Victim Support NI and Nexus NI to ensure that immediate support and counselling will be available to the victims in these cases should they need it. Details have been included in individual correspondence. The organisations can be contacted on Victimsupportni.com, 02890 243133 or The Nexus NI 24 Hour Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline 0808 802 1414, email email@example.com or visit https://dsahelpline.org.
- For further information or to bid for interviews with the Commissioner please email Communications@niccy.org or phone 07917 544 177.