The 14 people reported in connection with last year’s participation in the Black Lives Matter protest will not be prosecuted, the Northern Ireland Prosecutor’s Office (PPS) said Wednesday.
The PPS said it had reached the conclusion that “the prosecution’s tests have not been met for evidence-based suspects.”
Martin Hardy, Deputy Director of PPS, said there was no “reasonable prospect of conviction” for the suspect, as he could claim that he had a “reasonable excuse” to participate in the protest. Stated.
14 people who participated in at least one of the three BLM protests in Londonderry and Belfast in June 2020 were subject to regulations imposed to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Reported to the PPS for consideration of potential crimes below. Known as the new coronavirus.
According to the PPS, factors related to rational defense include “proportionality and coherence of police approaches to various protests,” and freedom of expression and peaceful assembly guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. Was included.
“The decision regarding this file included consideration of complex new legal issues arising from the coronavirus regulation and related human rights considerations in force at the time of these protests, and the identification of these protests. It also included a careful analysis of the situation and reported individual behavior, “says Hardy. statement..
“The evidence received from the police was subject to fair and independent prosecution review in line with the prosecutor’s PPS code. The prosecution team was also helped by the advice received from an independent senior lawyer,” he said. Said.
Hardy said, “The conclusion reached regarding the 14 individuals who were trying to safely exercise their right to peaceful meetings and freedom of expression on important social issues is unlikely to be convicted of any crime. There is. “
Another relevant factor, according to PPS, was the lack of legal clarity about which activities would be legal.
“These included the lack of a definition of what constitutes a” meeting “or” outdoor activity. “Lack of regulation [at that time] Deal with rallies specifically for the purpose of protest. Tension within the rules that allows unlimited gatherings for outdoor movies, live concerts, or theater performances. And the fact that the rational excuses specified in the rules were not perfect, “said PPS.