‘Justice not achieved’ for beaten child - O’Loan

Declan O'Loan
Declan O'Loan

Ballymena SDLP Councillor Declan O’Loan has said it is clear that justice has not been achieved in relation to the death of Liam Bennett in 2009

However he also accepted the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions that it is not possible to charge anyone in relation to the death of. that Councillor O’Loan wrote to the DPP in October 2013 after an inquest recorded a verdict of non-accidental death and the Coroner requested a review of the original decision not to prosecute anyone in relation to the death.

He said: “The Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory QC, has now written to me saying that the case has been examined by a second prosecutor and also by himself. His conclusion is that the evidence simply does not exist to charge any one in connection with this death.

“I accept the decision of the DPP. It is most regrettable that this is the position and it means that justice has not been achieved for this child. I note the public statement by the Public Prosecution Service that the case may be reopened should any relevant new evidence become available. If any person holds any information on what happened to Liam Bennett, there is a moral duty on them to bring that forward and I would call on them to do so.”

“I also referred the matter of possible failure in the police investigation to the Police Ombudsman in October 2013. In the light of the DPP announcement, I have now asked the Police Ombudsman for his findings in relation to the case. Of course I have no evidence of police failure in the case, but the contradiction between the finding of non-accidental death and no one being made amenable is so stark that every possible reason for that situation deserves to be examined again.”