Pearse Jordan

Pearse Jordan was shot dead by the RUC on the Falls Road in Belfast – 25 November 1992

Mr Justice Scoffield ordered the authority to reconsider whether the pair should be prosecuted for suspected perjury or attempting to pervert course of justice at inquest.

The Public Prosecution Service unlawfully failed to take a decision on any potential criminal charges against two police officers in connection with the killing of an IRA man, a High Court judge ruled on Thursday.

Mr Justice Scoffield ordered the authority to reconsider whether the pair should be prosecuted for attempting to pervert the course of justice or suspected perjury at the inquest into the death of Pearse Jordan.

The 22-year-old republican was shot dead by an RUC officer as he ran from a stolen car stopped on the Falls Road in west Belfast in November 1992.

His death was one of several high-profile cases involving allegations that police were involved in shoot-to-kill incidents.

In 2016 an inquest was unable to reach a concluded view about whether the use of lethal force was justified.

But the coroner, Mr Justice Horner, found that two former members of the RUC, Officers M and Q, had given untruthful evidence.

Amid suspicions that one or both of them edited the original logbook on the day of the shooting, he concluded they may have committed perjury or tried to pervert the course of justice.

The coroner went on to report both officers to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

In October last year the DPP declined to take a decision on whether to prosecute M and Q because police had not submitted a file or considered there was evidence of any offence.

Teresa Jordan, the IRA man’s mother, challenged that position by claiming breaches of her human rights and the code for prosecutors.

Mrs Jordan also contended that the DPP had improperly delegated functions within the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002.

Lawyers for the prosecuting authority insisted it was legitimate for some cases where there is no evidence of a crime to be dealt with by the police without the need for it to take a decision.

However, Mr Justice Scoffield ruled that the DPP was under a legal obligation to exercise his functions independently after the coroner had referred suspects for potential offences.

“At the very least, I am satisfied that it was a misdirection for the Director to take the view… that there was no individual reported to whom the test for prosecution could be applied,” the judge said.

“It was plainly possible to apply the test for prosecution to the two officers who had been referred to the DPP by the coroner.

“The suggestion that this could not be done was an error of law.”

He further held that Mrs Jordan had been deprived of any reasons why the test for prosecution was not met.

Granting her application for judicial review, Mr Justice Scoffield quashed the Director’s determination and remitted the case for reconsideration.

“It appears almost inevitable that the DPP will direct ‘no prosecution’ on the basis that the evidential test has not been met,” he added.

“In doing so he would be required to provide at least some reasons to the applicant for this decision.”

Mrs Jordan’s solicitor, Fearghal Shiels of Madden and Finucane, welcomed the verdict.

He said: “The delay in this matter receiving proper consideration is outrageous and we will now immediately re-engage with the PPS.”

Irish News