Ulster Unionist Justice Spokesperson Doug Beattie MC MLA has asked where the decision of Justice McCloskey to step aside in the Loughinisland case leaves the justice system in Northern Ireland.
Doug Beattie MC MLA said:
“Mr Justice McCloskey’s decision to step aside from the Loughinisland case, even though the legal test has not been satisfied, raises serious questions for the administration of justice in Northern Ireland.
“The issue arose because he had previously been involved in a similar case against the Ombudsman's office in 2001 and as a result, it was argued that there was a potential public perception of bias.
“We live in a country that still has deep divisions and allegations and perceptions of bias are an inevitable fact of life.
“For example, the fact that Barra McGrory previously represented senior Sinn Fein figures proved no barrier to his later appointment as Director of Public Prosecutions and indeed he is now representing the families in the very case from which Mr Justice McCloskey has just recused himself.
“Many people will be forgiven for asking why the perception of bias in our legal system only seems to apply to those who have previously acted for the Police and not to those who have previously acted for republicans.”