DUP MLA Gordon Lyons has said there should be a review of the decision by the PPS not to prosecute anyone in relation to the multiple breaches of Covid-19 regulations which occurred at the funeral of Bobby Storey last year.
The East Antrim MLA said, "Whilst there are serious questions around the actions of the PSNI in facilitating people to break the law at the Storey funeral, that does not take away from either the arrogant disregard of Sinn Fein for the wider public, or the perverse decision by the PPS not to proceed with any prosecutions.
This announcement has had a major impact on public confidence in our justice system and that cannot be ignored. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our society has been enormous, and have seen draconian restrictions placed upon the lives of everyone. Whilst some may not have accepted or agreed with the restrictions there was no serious question that either their intent or detail was seriously misunderstood by the wider public.
Whilst we are told in March 2021 that regulations last year were supposedly so confused they cannot be enforced, there were no such concerns raised at the time. Those families who have suffered most due to an unforgiving pandemic believed that whilst the vast majority of people would act in the wider interest, the small number who may breach regulations would at least be held accountable for their actions.
The right exists for an application to review a decision by the PPS not to prosecute. This is a step which should be taken forward in the interests of justice and in the interests of confidence in our justice system. It is the victims of a crime which can make such an application and there are many victims of the breaches which occurred.
It is not just confidence in the justice system which has suffered, but the public health message has been hugely damaged. All those who breached the regulations and the failure to hold anyone to account for those breaches have resulted in an impact which can never fully be measured."