To ask Her Majesty's Government why it took seven years for the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland to decide not to proceed with the prosecution of Larry Zaitschek for the break-in at Castlereagh police station; and what assessment they have made of any effect of those developments on public confidence in the policing and justice system in Northern Ireland. [HL5052]
The statement issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland gives a full account of the circumstances of this case. The statement made clear that there had been sufficient evidence to prosecute Zaitschek but after the original decision for prosecution had been taken new information came to the attention of the public prosecution service (PPS) through the chief constable, which led the PPS to conclude that the test for prosecution was no longer met.
A decision not to prosecute in any high profile case has the potential negatively to affect public confidence in the administration of justice. The overriding objective in all cases must be to ensure that the rights of all those in contact with the criminal justice system are protected, including the right of a defendant to a fair trial.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Police Service of Northern Ireland sent the files to the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland for the prosecution of Larry Zaitschek for the break-in at Castlereagh police station; whether additional evidence was available other than any evidence submitted by another Government; and, if so, why that additional evidence was not used in the prosecution. [HL5054]
The statement issued by the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland gives a full account of the circumstances of the case. The Government are not able to comment further on this case. Operational matters are the responsibility of the chief constable and I have asked him to reply to your question about the dates on which files were sent to the PPS. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Library of the House.