Northern Ireland news

Suspension of three PSNI officers accused of 'incorrect' court account could impact other cases

James McElkerney
Connla Young

THE PUBLIC Prosecution Service (PPS) is to examine other cases involving three PSNI officers who were suspended after being accused of providing an “incorrect account” of an incident involving a republican activist.

The Police Ombudsman has launched an investigation after IRSP member Martin McElkerney was acquitted of a driving charge last April.

It has now emerged that the officers at the centre of the probe have provided statements in other court proceedings.

A spokeswoman for the PPS last night said “there are a number of other cases in which the named officers provide statements of evidence”.

She added that “the full extent of the officers' involvement in these cases is being actively considered.

“The PPS is aware of its duties of disclosure to the defence and is taking steps to ensure that these are fully complied with in every case in which these officers appear as a witness,” she said.

The former prisoner was prosecuted for a driving offence after he was stopped by police at Oranmore Street, off the Springfield Road in west Belfast, last April.

It had been alleged that prior to being stopped Mr McElkerney had made an offensive hand gesture to a passing PSNI Land Rover.

Three PSNI officers who were travelling in the Land Rover later gave statements that the car driven by Mr McElkerney struck one of them.

However, video evidence produced in court by Mr McElkerney's legal team, which has been seen by the Irish News, appears to show that no contact took place.

It is understood that after Mr McElkerney was acquitted a judge asked for a report to be sent to the PPS which, along with the video evidence, was reviewed by a senior prosecutor.

The matter was also referred to the Police Ombudsman.

The ombudsman's office has previously confirmed that it is investigating a complaint "that three officers provided evidence to a court based on an incorrect account of an incident."

The spokesman added last night that: “Our investigation is ongoing and arrangements have been made to interview the officers involved."

The PSNI confirmed the officers had been suspended.

“Their duty status is kept under review,” a spokesman said.

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