Photo Mal McCann
The PPS warns:
As court proceedings will shortly commence, the PPS would ask that there is no reporting, commentary or sharing of information on-line which would in any way prejudice these proceedings”.
“A trial directly related to politics couldn’t have came at a worse time for both the DUP and Sinn Féin.
In a place where one political scandal has barely passed before another rocks up, the crisis caused by the Nama property allegations seems a lifetime ago.
At the time it threatened to collapse the assembly and taint the legacy of former First Minister Peter Robinson.
It involved eye watering sums of money, allegations of political lobbying and £7 million in an offshore bank account.
The charge is linked to the appearance of loyalist Jamie Bryson before Stormont’s Finance Committee, investigating the property scandal back in September 2015.
Daithí McKay, a rising star in Sinn Féin, resigned within hours of the leaking of transcripts in August 2016, allegedly between himself and Bryson through a third party – and a man now set to be their co accused – the lesser known Thomas O’Hara.
The charge of ‘conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office’ is rarely used and is thought to have never been used before in Northern Ireland.
The charges arise as the DUP and Sinn Féin attempt to reach a deal to put the devolved institutions back in place.
It is an unusual turn of events expected to attract enormous public and media interest with the ghosts of political scandals past now set to haunt the halls of a Belfast courtroom.”
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Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London