PPS: No prosecution of ‘we hate Catholics’ video suspects

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The Public Prosecution Service has taken a decision not to prosecute three individuals who were filmed singing “we hate Catholics” in a Belfast bar on 24 March 2019.

A PPS spokeswoman said that after careful consideration of all the available evidence provided by police, prosecutors concluded that the test for prosecution was not met in respect of any suspect.

The individuals were investigated for potential acts of using threatening, abusive, or insulting words towards a religious grouping of people and intending to stir up hatred.

“The decision was informed by independent expert analysis of the video which had been circulated widely on social media,” the PPS said.

“In respect of one person, the evidence provided did not reach the standard required to prove this individual had sung any offensive words.

“In respect of the other persons, the evidence did not reach the legal standard required to prove that they intended to stir up hatred or arouse fear through their actions, or that it was likely that hatred would be stirred up or fear aroused.”

The PPS added: “We have given detailed consideration to the evidence provided by police in respect of the three individuals reported and have concluded that it is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction against any individual.”

The PPS test for prosecution has two elements; whether the available evidence provides a reasonable prospect of conviction and whether prosecution is in the public interest.

To prove an offence in this case, the prosecution was required to prove that the accused used insulting towards a religious grouping of people, and that the words were used with the intention of stirring up hatred.