The Prime Minister admitted today that the Police made a “dreadful mistake” in issuing a letter to an IRA suspect guaranteeing him immunity from prosecution for any part he may have played in Northern Irish Terrorism.
John Downey, 62, walked free yesterday after courts ruled that the 2007 letter made it impossible to prosecute him for his alleged role in the 1982 Hyde Park Barrack attack.
The Prime Minister offered a “rapid factual review” of the case but insisted that the government must act lawfully: effectively dismissing calls to ignore the court’s ruling.
But the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson, was unimpressed and threatened to resign unless there was a full Judicial Review of the case.
The letter, one of 187 sent as part of the Northern Ireland peace process; make it unlikely that anyone will now face trial for the attack that killed four soldiers.
In a statement on behalf of the four soldiers killed, relatives said they were “devastatingly let down” by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).They said: “This news has left us all feeling devastatingly let down, even more so when the monumental blunder behind this judgment lies at the feet of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
The scandal is likely to run on as politicians from Northern Ireland continued to express there outrage at what has happened.