“The ruling by Mr Justice Schofield goes to the heart of many decisions, and not just the incident on the Ormeau Road.
Two young police officers had their lives and careers unjustifiable disrupted, and the PSNI leadership chose to stand with Sinn Fein rather than their own officers. This took place against a backdrop where there were no prosecutions arising from the Bobby Storey funeral and indeed police actions frustrated attempts to prosecute senior Sinn Fein officials. In contrast of course bandsmen in Markethill will face prosecution.
There are huge questions to be answered around this case when a court has ultimately determined that two-tier policing has operated in Northern Ireland. The rule of law must apply equally to everyone in Northern Ireland, yet even PSNI officers were thrown to the wolves by their own bosses to placate Sinn Fein.
This commenced even in the immediate aftermath of the Ormeau Road incident, before even the most basic of investigations could have taken place to determine the facts. Instead, the Chief Constable immediately apologised, appearing to choose political considerations above natural justice for his own officers.
Public confidence in the PSNI has been significantly tested over recent weeks, and this ruling today underscores why many unionists have had and continue to have grave concerns on these issues.”