NI: Senior prosecutors to help PSNI prepare rape cases for prosecution
Ten prosecutors based in Belfast are set to form a new crime unit aimed at improving the quality of evidence in rape cases before they go before the courts, The Irish News reports.
The senior prosecutors will work in close co-ordination with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to help prepare cases for successful prosecution.
The team is set to be established next month and will be headed by Public Prosecution Service (PPS) assistant director Marianne O’Kane.
The announcement comes as research conducted by the Northern Ireland Assembly for the Green Party in Northern Ireland (GPNI) found there were just 83 convictions for rape between 2009-13.
More than 2,000 cases were passed to the PPS in 2010-14, but the decision was taken not to prosecute in 83 per cent of cases. In 97 per cent of cases, this was because they “did not pass the evidential test”.
Clare Bailey, deputy leader of the Green Party, said: “It is absolutely alarming to see a steady decline in cases in terms of the PPS deciding to prosecute.
“I am very encouraged that statistics showing such a steady increase in the number of people coming forward to report rapes and sexual attacks. But I believe this is the tip of the iceberg.”