Mark Sykes arrested in February for alleged disorderly behaviour

THE Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has decided that no charges should be brought against two police officers over an incident at a Troubles commemoration event in south Belfast.

It follows allegations of assault against Mark Sykes who was arrested over allegations of disorderly behaviour.

It happened on the Ormeau Road amid strict COVID-19 rules.

The two officers intervened as a crowd gathered outside Sean Graham’s bookmakers to mark the 29th anniversary of the UFF gun massacre.

Five people were murdered by the UFF in 1992 and others injured.

The PPS had been considering evidence gathered by the Police Ombudsman.

PPS assistant director Martin Hardy said today: “Having carefully considered the available evidence, the PPS decision was that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the actions of the officers in arresting the civilian, and applying handcuffs to him, were unlawful. 

“Separate consideration was given to whether an omission to remove the handcuffs after a period of time had passed could amount to an assault by a police officer. 

“Again, after a thorough examination of all matters, it was concluded that the test for prosecution is not met for any assault arising from that aspect of the complaint.”

Mr Hardy added: “We are acutely aware of the deep sensitivities attached to this case, and the distress caused to the complainant through being arrested at an event to remember an atrocity which those present were so directly and profoundly impacted by.

“I would like to reassure the public that these decisions were taken impartially and after a full consideration of all relevant matters.”

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