NI: Brokenshire warned over ‘interfering in the rule of law’

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has come “perilously close to interfering in the rule of law”, according to Northern Ireland’s former Justice Minister David Ford.

It comes after Mr Brokenshire, writing in the The Telegraph, referred to “the imbalance of the current system of legacy investigations”.

He lent credence to allegations there is a “disproportionate” focus on prosecuting former British soldiers for their actions during the Troubles.

Responding to his remarks, Mr Ford said: “Politicians have a duty to support the impartial operation of the institutions of the justice system. The comments from James Brokenshire on prosecutions come perilously close to interfering in the rule of law.

“The police, whether PSNI, Garda or forces in Great Britain, have the duty to investigate crime and prepare reports for the prosecution services, who have a duty to consider the evidence before them without fear or favour. If evidence exists of serious crimes being committed, then the alleged perpetrators must be brought to court.”

He added: “It appears the Secretary of State is following his cabinet colleague, the Lord Chancellor, who failed to defend the integrity of High Court judges when they were attached by tabloid papers and called ‘enemies of the people’ for doing their duty and upholding the law.

“This is depressing when the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland set out the position of the justice system so clearly just a few days ago. I trust the Minister of Justice will now defend the integrity of the PSNI, the PPS and the judiciary, and make clear the Secretary of State is wrong.”

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