herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

'DPP failures let my abuser escape justice' - Mairia

report

ABUSE victim Mairia Cahill has said she believes her alleged abuser will never face justice because of "catastrophic failures" by the authorities tasked with handling her case.

Ms Cahill was one of three victims who received formal apologies from the North's Director of Public Prosecutions following the publication of a damning report by a top UK lawyer.

The independent review by Sir Keir Starmer found the North's Prosecution Service failed in its handling of a number of cases involving alleged sexual abuse and claims of subsequent IRA cover-ups.

The report found that the three victims, including Ms Cahill, were "let down" by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) after they made allegations of sexual abuse against suspected IRA member Martin Morris.

All three complainants were children at the time of the alleged abuse.

The report found "shortfalls in the service" provided to Ms Cahill and two other victims, whose identities are protected. The two other victims are referred to in the report as 'AA' and 'BB', while Ms Cahill is named because she waived her identity.

These shortfalls mainly involve individual failures around strategic planning, management of the cases and in the communication and consultation with victims and witnesses.

While the report found that there was no "improper motivation" on the part of the prosecution service, it found that all of the victims were let down.

findings

Significantly, the report found that the failings by the prosecution service prompted Ms Cahill and the other two victims to withdraw their allegations, causing their respective trials to collapse.

Reacting to the findings, the North's Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory, QC, apologised to the three victims.

Speaking to the Herald last night, Ms Cahill welcomed the findings and said she believed "catastrophic failures" have been uncovered.

But she said she no longer believes her alleged abuser will be brought to justice after the collapse of the trial.

The young mother claimed she was raped by Morris as a teenager and that her allegations were subsequently subjected to an IRA 'kangaroo court' before being covered up.

Three separate trials later collapsed after Ms Cahill and the two other victims withdrew their allegations.

Ms Cahill claimed that one of her reasons for withdrawing the allegations was due to the fact that it took more than four years for her case to come before the court.

Just months after Ms Cahill went public with her ordeal, Sir Starmer was appointed to examine the conduct of the Prosecution Service.

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