Prosecutors back decision on McGuinness charges
Prosecutors back decision on McGuinness charges

Crown prosecutors have said that Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was not charged with membership of the IRA in 1994 because there was not enough evidence.

The Crown Prosecution Service said this week that it had “carefully considered” an RUC file on the senior Sinn Fein MP, who was an IRA commander in the seventies. It had concluded there had not been enough evidence to prosecute him.

A 21-month investigation carried out by the Police Ombudsman into the complaint made by hardline unionist Jim Allister as to whether political considerations had affected the decision to prosecute, has now concluded.

Mr Allister, the leader of Traditional Unionist Voice, had complained that it had been “politically expedient” for the authorities to stop pursuing the case.

Unionists recently unearthed a picture of Mr McGuinness holding a handgun.

Mr Allister said: “Nowhere else in the United Kingdom could one serve in ministerial office when a photograph such as this was in the public domain.

“It is yet another reminder that justice has been dispensed with in Northern Ireland.”

He said the “threatening pose” was “much more than just a show for the cameras”.

The TUV leader added: “How could anyone contemplate devolving policing and justice powers to an executive jointly headed by such an individual? In the photo McGuinness has his finger on the trigger. This is the same trigger finger which will be going, line by line, through every policing and justice paper which comes before the Executive.”

Anti-republican lobbyist Willie Frazer, who unearthed the photograph, said: “If I can come across this picture, surely the security forces were aware of it. Was he being covered up by certain people for all these years?

Mr Frazer said he found the photo in an American archive.

Commenting on the photo, Mr McGuinness said: “The past is the past.

“I’m involved in carving out a better future for everyone including Willie Frazer.”

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