PPS considers file concerning Jim Wells

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The PPS is considering a file in relation to ex-health minister Jim Wells.

It is understood to be inconnection with a pre-election hustings event held on April 23, when the DUP MLA made remarks which were interpreted as a claim that gay couples would be more likely to abuse their children – something Mr Wells denies.

It had already been known Mr Wells had been interviewed by police.

Now it has emerged that a file was forwarded to the PPS concerning the case at the end of August, and that one will also be sent concerning the suspected perverting of the course of justice by a woman.

Police released two statements, one of which read: “A 58-year-old man voluntarily attended Downpatrick PSNI Station on Wednesday 8 July 2015, by pre-arranged appointment in relation to a number of complaints received from members of the public regarding an incident on Thursday April 23 in Downpatrick.

“A file was forwarded to the PPS on Monday August 24.”

Another read: “A 48-year-old woman voluntarily attended Dungannon PSNI Station on Wednesday 7 October by pre-arranged appointment in relation to the suspicion of perverting the course of justice...

“A report will be forwarded to the PPS in due course.”

The PSNI added that this too is in connection with complaints stemming from the event.

In July, Mr Wells provided the News Letter with a written transcript of his comments from the hustings, which he said had been agreed as “true and accurate” by both him and the PSNI.

It reads: “All evidence throughout the world says the best way to raise children is in a loving, stable, married relationship; the facts show that, the facts show that certainly you don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship.

“That a child is far more likely to be abused or neglected (uproar among audience) I say again, I say again, a child is far more likely to be abused or neglected in a non stable marriage situation, gay or straight.”

When Mr Wells spoke to the News Letter, he said he would be “delighted” to face prosecution, because “it would give me a chance to clear my name”.

He questioned whether “any reasonable person” who read the entire transcript of what he said at the event would believe he was making the claim that “gays abuse their children”.

He said such a claim would be “nonsense”.