Gerry Kelly ‘assault’ charge: PPS facing legal challenge

A Co Antrim man is being prosecuted for allegedly assaulting senior Sinn Fein representative Gerry Kelly.

Stephen Geraghty, 49, faces criminal proceedings over an encounter with the politician near a school last year.

Geraghty, of Glenwell Avenue, Newtownabbey, is charged with a single count of common assault on October 15.

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As the case came before Belfast Magistrates’ Court for the first time today, a defence solicitor stressed his client is not accused of any actual violence.

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly. Picture: Pacemaker

Mark Austin said: “Mr Geraghty is charged with a non-physical assault on his own elected representative, Gerry Kelly.”

No further details about the alleged circumstances were disclosed during the brief hearing.

But it emerged that the Public Prosecution Service is being threatened with a legal challenge for deciding to charge Geraghty.

Pre-action correspondence is to be sent, seeking clarification on the authority’s reasoning, ahead of a potential application for judicial review.

“It seems peculiar how this decision passed the test for prosecution,” Mr Austin submitted.

The case was adjourned for four weeks due to the possible High Court challenge.

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