Peter Robinson: “Public confidence has been badly damaged. It must be restored.”
“Earlier this week, I indicated that the Westminster Government should hold an inquiry and the recipients of letters must get a clear message that they are not protected from police questioning or prosecution.
As a consequence of DUP action, the Prime Minister has announced a judge-led inquiry to investigate this immoral administrative system. This inquiry will not drag on for years. It is time limited and must publish its report by the end of May 2014. All related matters will be examined by the judge.
I also welcome the Secretary of State’s statement on Thursday that “letters issued cannot be relied upon to avoid questioning or prosecution for offences where information or evidence is now or later becomes available.”
I would also support a Parliamentary inquiry through the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, indeed this could be conducted jointly with the Stormont Justice Committee. We must have the truth and the more light that shines on this dark scheme the better.
The outcome of the Downey case was morally wrong. No one should be beyond the law. If someone is “one-the-run,” I want them to fear the police, the courts and the rule of law. I want them to fear the fact that one day justice may catch-up with them.
Downey walked out of court because of Tony Blair’s dirty scheme. Whilst some have described it as an “administrative error,” such a term does not begin to encapsulate the appalling injustice visited upon the victims of the Hyde Park bombing and the many thousands of law abiding citizens across the Province.
The actions we have sought from the Government are just a first step in the restoration of confidence in our criminal justice system. I understand and share the anger in the community. I haven’t sought to grandstand with this issue rather I have taken actions to halt this immoral scheme.
I can’t agree with those who say we should have brought Stormont down. Collapsing the Executive simply places control into the hands of the people who administered the scheme in the first place.”