I am deeply disturbed in the aftermath of the acquittal of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, along with their friends Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison at the lack of balance in comments from both PSNI and the PPS.
I would suggest it is not for them to comment on or congratulate complainants whose case has been tried following due process and a verdict pronounced by a jury.
What about the misery of the last two years endured by the four defendants – scant regard for their predicament it seems.
There are two comments in particular which are in my opinion indefensible.
Firstly, the statement by Marianne O’Kane of PPS which reads, “Most importantly, I want to take a moment to recognise the courage and determination of the complainant.”
In her opinion the most important comment the PPS could make regarding this high profile case was to pay tribute to the complainant? The simple fact of the matter is the adjudication of the jury was that either the complainant was misguided or lying — or both.
Secondly, Det Insp Zoe McKee, said: “Our message is very clear. We do not want the decision from today’s verdict to deter other victims from coming forward…”
That quote is taken directly from her comments on BBC Newsline.
Rate and sexual assault are heinous crimes and the perpetrators should be brought to justice, but a senior police officer really should know the difference between a victim and a complainant.
It was not a good day in court for either the PSNI or PPS.
John McClements, Newtownards