The judge in the latest Loughinisland report ruling was clearly less than impressed at the conduct of the Police Ombudsman’s office in this case, finding the ombudsman in breach of the court’s order which he described as ‘an entirely unsatisfactory state of affairs’ and that ‘the court has been treated with disrespect’.
This is a further blow to the credibility of the office and the quality of its work.
I have repeatedly highlighted the problems that have arisen due to the casual use of terms such as collusion, whereby the definition has been stretched so wide on occasion as to render it almost meaningless while at the same time having a serious detrimental impact on the likes of the PSNI and RUC, as in this case.
I note that the ombudsman is still challenging the findings of Mr Justice McCloskey who last year ruled that the ombudsman did not have the legal power to reach a determination of collusion.
I await the outcome of that ruling with great interest.
Doug Beattie MLA, Stormont