Woman will not be prosecuted over ‘f*** the DUP’ placard

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has confirmed it will not prosecute a 25-year-old woman who held a placard reading “f*** the DUP” at Belfast Pride last August.

Ellie Evans was questioned by PSNI officers after two complaints were made, including one from Jim Wells, DUP MLA for South Down, who wanted her actions to be treated as a “hate crime”.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the PPS said: “We have carefully considered all of the available evidence in this case and it has been concluded that the test for prosecution is not met.

“Two potential public order offences were considered in relation to the incident. However, it was concluded that there was insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction for an offence under Article 9 of the Public Order (NI) Order 1987 because the message was not directed towards a group of persons defined by religious belief, disability, race, sexual orientation, colour, nationality or ethnicity.

“An offence contrary to Article 19 of the 1987 Order was also considered but the available evidence did not provide a reasonable prospect of proving the required intent to provoke a breach of the peace or, alternatively, that a breach of the peace was likely as a result of the accused’s conduct.

“It was further considered that the potential for prosecution under Article 9 of the Public Processions (NI) Act 1998 did not arise because no determination had issued from the Parades Commission in respect of the Belfast Pride parade.”