2 Mar 2012

Northern Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions has criticised the quality of files sent to his office by the police.

Barra McGrory said about half of the files on serious crimes did not have enough information for his staff to decide whether to take a case to court.

More than 60,000 files are sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) by the police each year.

Mr McGrory is reviewing the flow of information from the PSNI.

He said the issue of the quality of information from the police was one which he had “raised at a very high level with PSNI”.

“It is something which has caused the Public Prosecution Service some concern, because there are a very large number of files which arrive with the Public Prosecution Service, in which there is simply not enough information to take a decision to prosecute and those files have to go back,” he told the BBC.

“There is a procedure by which we can ask for further information on cases and we do that somewhere in the region of 50% of the case files that we receive from the police.

“That is far more than I would like and it’s something we’re looking at.”

Mr McGrory added that there needed to be ways to maintain a degree of independence, but yet work a little bit more closely with the police regarding prosecutions.

On Thursday, Mr McGrory defended so-called supergrass trials.

He denied the verdicts in last month’s UVF supergrass case were an embarrassment for the Public Prosecution Service and the police.

The Justice Minister, David Ford, later told MLAs he saw no need for changes to the law in the light of the outcome.