District Judge 'sick to the back teeth' as she accuses PPS of sexism

Man appears at Newry court charged with rape of baby
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A District Judge sitting at Craigavon Magistrates' Court has accused the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) of sexism.

District Judge Bernie Kelly made the remarks during Wednesday's sitting of the court, adding that she was "sick to the back teeth" of it.

It came as an application was made by the PPS to withdraw charges of common assault and attempted criminal damage against Rosina McKivergan, 54, of Prospect Terrace in Gilford.

After the application was made, District Judge Kelly pointed out that she had made similar remarks last week and that she hoped that “the message will get through”.

She continued: “I am sick to the back teeth of the sexism that goes on in the PPS. If a man had assaulted a woman with a different racial background to himself, would you be withdrawing?

“I know the answer to that – the short answer is no, you would not.

“Why do we apply sexist policies? It's contrary to Article 14 of the ECHR. Everybody has to be treated equally and I'm fed up with this.

“Two people committing the same offence should be treated equally, subject to records etc.

“And I pray that there was no racist aspect to this case”, to which the prosecution representative said, “I don't believe so, Your Worship”.

After marking the case withdrawn, District Judge Kelly added, “In future I don't want to see this. I don't want to see charges withdrawn against a woman where they would not be withdrawn against a man, is that clear? Or else you may start withdrawing against men too and then face the wrath of the public.”

Responding, a PPS spokeswoman told Your Lurgan: “The PPS has a duty to keep decisions to prosecute under review in accordance with the Code for Prosecutors.

"In this case an initial decision to prosecute the individual for common assault and attempted criminal damage was reviewed after additional information was provided by the accused. Having regard to that information and taking the views of the victim into account, it was considered that an alternative to prosecution, in this case an adult caution, was an appropriate disposal.

"The PPS withdrew the proceedings without prejudice in court today (21/07/21) and have arranged for the caution to be administered at a date and time suitable to the victim and the defendant.

"All decisions in this case, as in all cases, were taken impartially after carefully considering all the available evidence and circumstances, and fully in line with the PPS Code for Prosecutors and the PPS guidelines for the use of diversionary disposals.

"The background or characteristics of any party, including sex and race, play no part in PPS decision making in this or any other case."

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