Prosecution service requires ‘further work’ on handling of rape allegations

Brendan McGuigan
Brendan McGuigan

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has made progress on its investigation of rape allegations two years after it mishandled an allegation from Maíria Cahill and two others.

Brendan McGuigan, chief inspector of criminal justice in Northern Ireland, found in his report that the PPS has improved its performance but “further work” is still required.

Mr McGuigan was asked to carry out an independent assessment of work undertaken by the PPS to implement recommendations made by Sir Keir Starmer QC in a 2015 report.

The Starmer Review found that Ms Cahill and two other women, who alleged sexual abuse by an IRA member in the late 1990s, were “let down by the PPS and counsel”.

It made nine recommendations for improvement, of which four have been achieved, four have substantially progressed, and one has been progressed in a very limited way.

Mr McGuigan said: “I welcome the steps taken to date to meet the requirements of the Starmer recommendations but I believe the PPS is on a journey which is not yet complete.

“Further work is required to address inconsistencies between policy and practice, embed the changes and fully embrace the spirit of the Starmer recommendations across the organisation.”