Two men and Greenvale Hotel owner facing prosecution following St Patrick's disco teenagers' deaths
The company which owns the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown and two men are to be prosecuted over the deaths of three teenagers at a St Patrick's Day disco in Cookstown in 2019.
However, five police officers referred to prosecutors over their actions on the night will not face court action.
Morgan Barnard, 17, Lauren Bullock, 17, and Connor Currie, 16 - died in the queue for the venue on 17 March during a crush.
Two men, aged 55 and 43, are each to be charged with three counts of gross negligence manslaughter – one charge for each of the deaths.
Prosecutors also intend to charge the same two individuals with one offence of contravening the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978.
In addition, the company which runs the Greenvale Hotel, known as Tobin Limited, will also face one charge of contravening the same Health and Safety legislation.
In a statement from Greenvale owner Michael McEllhatton said: "I am conscious that this is a highly sensitive time for the families and I feel that it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”
No action will be taken against the five police officers investigated by the Police Ombudsman for their actions whilst responding to events at the Greenvale Hotel.
Nine other individuals reported by the police will also not face prosecution. The Police Ombudsman said she will now consider if there is evidence of misconduct by any officer.
Marie Anderson said: "Where there are grounds to do so, I will make appropriate recommendations to the Chief Constable. “I thank the families for their ongoing patience during this process.”
Police acknowledged the decision and offered their sympathies to the families involved. They said it would be inappropriate to comment further with the prospect of court proceedings and the ombudsman investigation.
Senior Public Prosecutor Graham Cardwell said: “The loved ones of Morgan Barnard, Lauren Bullock and Connor Currie have suffered a painful loss.
"I acknowledge that today may be one of mixed emotions for these families as they continue to live with the aftermath of such deeply distressing events.
“The files received from the PSNI and the Police Ombudsman were voluminous and detailed and there were a considerable number of complex issues that required careful consideration.
"I am grateful to the families for their patience as the PPS took the time needed to complete the significant task of examining all available evidence before reaching decisions on whether there was a reasonable prospect of conviction in relation to each suspect.
“I have informed the families that whilst the test for prosecution was met in respect of two suspects, it was considered not to be met on evidential grounds in respect of all other individuals reported in connection with events at the Greenvale Hotel that night.
“Detailed reasons for these decisions not to prosecute have been provided in writing to the families and we have also offered to meet in person. Whilst some of the no prosecution decisions may be disappointing to them, I can reassure the families, and the wider public, that all decisions were taken independently and only after a most thorough examination of all evidence and information available.
"PPS prosecutors were assisted in this task by advice from independent Senior Counsel.
“Criminal proceedings will commence in due course and we will continue to engage directly with the families involved as the prosecution progresses.”
The Police Federation - which represents officers - welcomed the move by prosecutors not to take action against those officers involved.
The chair of the Police Federation, Liam Kelly, in a statement, said: “This is primarily a difficult day for the families of the three young people who tragically lost their lives and our thoughts are first and foremost with them as they recall the terrible event and remember their children. "The PPS decision that there was no criminal culpability by the police officers is to be welcomed. This has also been a difficult three years for our officers, and I am sure they are relieved that any potential criminal matters are not being progressed against any of them.
"However, that unfortunately is not the end of the matter as the officers will now have to wait on the Police Ombudsman to establish if she recommends any misconduct proceedings against any of the officers. "This process should be completed as expeditiously as possible. Officers need to have closure and we would urge the Police Ombudsman’s office to fast-track its decision so that clarity is provided and the officers can move on with their lives and careers."
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