Monday 19 August 2019

Former Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff will not face prosecution for Kingsmill Twitter video

Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff with a Kingsmill branded loaf on his head
Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff with a Kingsmill branded loaf on his head
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff will not face prosecution over a controversial video posted on Twitter, which led him to resign his West Tyrone parliamentary seat.

Mr McElduff faced heavy criticism after posting a video in which he balanced a loaf of Kingsmill-branded bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) confirmed on Wednesday it would not be prosecuting Mr McElduff.

In its statement the PPS confirmed it would also not be taking any action against North Belfast MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir, who shared the video.

In coming to its conclusion, the PPS examined the video footage posted to Twitter as well as CCTV footage from the garage where the incident happened.

The purpose of its investigation was to determine whether there was sufficient evidence under the Communications Act 2003 and the Public Order Order 1987 to proceed with a prosecution.

For the prospect of a prosecution to have been possible under the terms of this legislation, it would have had to be determined that the action taken in the video was both "grossly offensive" and was intended to be so.

PPS Assistant Director Martin Hardy said it had concluded it did not believe the evidence provided by police would give a "reasonable prospect" of obtaining a conviction against either Mr McElduff or Mr O Muilleoir.

“The PPS acknowledges the content of the video posted on the anniversary of the Kingsmill murders caused a great deal of hurt to those directly affected by the atrocity and many others in the wider community, said Mr Hardy.

“We have written to the next of kin of the Kingsmill victims, and the attack’s survivor, to explain in detail the rationale for the decision.

“Whilst we recognise the outcome is disappointing to those offended by the content and timing of the video, we can offer assurance that these decisions were reached only after the most careful examination of all evidence and information available.”

In every case considered by the PPS consideration is given to what it calls the 'Test for Prosecution' - where it determines whether sufficient evidence exists for a prosecution to take place and whether it believes as prosecution is in the public interest.

Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News