BLM warrants to be cancelled and fines refunded

Protestors fined at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Derry last summer look set to be refunded.

By Kevin Mullan
Friday, 20th August 2021, 5:07 pm
The ‘Day of Solidarity - Justice for George Floyd’ rally in the Guildhall Square last year.
The ‘Day of Solidarity - Justice for George Floyd’ rally in the Guildhall Square last year.

Outstanding warrants issued in relation to the protest will also be cancelled following an intervention by the PSNI.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “I have written to the Minster of Health to inform him of our intention to request the NI Courts and Tribunal Service to refund paid fines and cancel any outstanding warrants issued at two Black Lives Matter events in Londonderry/Derry and Belfast on 6 June 2020.

“We have taken this step in light of recent findings by the Northern Ireland Policing Board, Police Ombudsman for NI and most recently the decisions of the Public Prosecutions Service.”

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Police said the intervention only affects the 72 COV1 (£60) penalty notices at Custom House Square, Belfast and Guildhall Square on June 6, 2020.

“Against a backdrop of an unprecedented health crisis and rapidly changing legislation, our objective has always been to help slow the spread of the virus to keep people safe. Balancing this against our obligation to safeguard other important rights – such as the right to peacefully protest has not been easy or comfortable.

“We have previously accepted that as a Service, we have not always got that balance right.

“We believe we erred in our use of penalty notices at these two events and are taking this action to correct that error.

“We are working to implement the lessons learned from this period and are determined to improve relationships and build confidence and trust in policing among all communities in Northern Ireland,” said DCC Hamilton.