HUNDREDS of offences such as shoplifting and incidents of public disorder are no longer ending up in Tyrone courts, due to new on-the-spot penalty notices.
Data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from the PPS show that the number of case files it received in the Western Region – which includes Tyrone, Fermanagh and Derry – dropped by 2,500 between 2014 and 2017.
In 2014, 13,962 files were sent for consideration by the PPS in the Western Region. The number, which continues to drop year-on-year, was 11,412 in 2017.
The PPS, said the decline in files received from police was “largely the result of a fall in less complex summary cases, for example involving minor disorder and low value retail theft”
They added, “Many such offences are now being dealt with directly by PSNI by way of Penalty Notices for Disorder (PND) or Community Resolution Notices (CRNs).”
Omagh based solicitor Michael Fahy has suggested recipients of PNDs and CRNs may not be aware that it will appear on enhanced criminal checks by employers, adding that some alleged offences can be successfully challenged in court.