The Public Prosecution Service has decided to prosecute seven people over alleged ill-treatment of patients at Muckamore Abbey Hospital.
The prosecutions are in relation to offences alleged to have been committed at Cranfield Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit.
In a statement, the PPS said: “This decision follows a thorough consideration of all the evidence in an investigation file received from police in April 2020.
“The seven individuals are being prosecuted for a range of offences including the alleged ill-treatment and wilful neglect of patients contrary to the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986.
“We have written to the families of the affected patients this morning to inform them of the decisions."
The PPS said a second file received from police in December 2020 in relation to alleged ill-treatment at the hospital remains under 'active consideration'.
The statement continued: “We acknowledge how difficult this process has been for the patients and their families, and we recognise the great dignity that they have shown. We will continue to engage with them and ensure they are kept informed as the process continues."
'Significant progress in police investigation'
Head of the PSNI's Public Protection Branch, Detective Chief Superintendent Anthony McNally, said: “The decision by the Public Prosecution Service to prosecute seven people for a range of offences in connection with the alleged ill-treatment of patients at Muckamore Abbey Hospital today is significant progress in this police investigation.
“This has been a very detailed and complex investigation and we will continue to work closely with the PPS.
DCS McNally continued: "From the outset we have been committed to working closely with them, with the aim of keeping them as informed as much as we possibly can and we will continue to do so. The protection of our most vulnerable is a priority for the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”