Two arrested over ‘criminal activity’ in Police Ombudsman

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Police have arrested two men in England on suspicion of perverting the course of justice in the Police Ombudsman’s office.

The PSNI said tonight that it will report them to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS),

Det Supt Kevin Geddis said police had investigated allegations of perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office in the ombudsman’s office.

“The suspects aged 62 and 67, were arrested on Tuesday in England and brought to Northern Ireland for questioning by detectives from PSNI Serious Crime Branch,” he said.

It is linked to a police ombudsman investigation into allegations of misconduct by police officers relating to the The Derry four case, he added.

Gerry McGowan, Michael Toner, Stephen Crumlish and Gerard Kelly were all teenagers when they were charged with killing Lt Steven Kirby in 1979 in Londonderry. They were acquitted of all charges in 1998.

Their treatment by the RUC was investigated by the ombudsman and in 2012 the case was referred to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

In 2014, the prosecution of two former RUC officers in relation to the interrogation of the teenagers collapsed, after the PPS received new information from the ombudsman.

The PSNI was then called in to look at how the complaint by the four men was investigated by the ombudsman’s office.

A Police Ombudsman spokesman said tonight that the police investigation related to “concerns about an aspect of the evidence provided by the ombudsman to the PPS in the case”.

He added: “The concerns were discovered by the PPS, which said it could not run with the trial of the former RUC officers as a result”.