Ex-Health Minister ‘won’t face charges’ for linking gay parents to child abuse
The Public Prosecution Service won’t be pressing charges against Northern Ireland’s ex-Minister for Health Jim Wells, after he claimed children of gay parents are more likely to be abused.
A militant opponent of LGBT rights, DUP minister Jim Wells was force to resign in May this year, after he made the controversial claim at a hustings.
He said: “You don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship. That the child is far more likely to be abused and neglected.”
However, it has been confirmed that the politician – who also branded Pride parades ‘repugnant’ and refused to take part in LGBT rights debates – will not face charges over the comments.
A PPS spokesperson told the Belfast Newsletter: “The Public Prosecution Service today confirms that a decision has been taken not to prosecute a 57-year-old man in relation to comments alleged to have been made at a pre-election event in Downpatrick on 23rd April 2015.
“Following a careful consideration of all the available evidence provided to the PPS by the PSNI, it has been decided that the case does not meet the Test for Prosecution. Potential offences were considered under the Public Order (NI) Order 1987, in particular an offence under Article 9 (stirring up hatred).
“Included in the evidence examined by prosecutors was a 30 second video clip which was widely circulated on social media after the event was staged in Downpatrick. The police also provided a longer transcript of a recording of the entirety of the man’s comments.
“On examining the available evidence for the incident reported, in particular the entirety of the transcript of the man’s comments, it was concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove that any offence was committed.”
The DUP said: “The DUP welcomes the announcement by the Public Prosecution Service that it is not to prosecute Jim Wells MLA in connection with an election hustings event in Downpatrick on 23rd April 2015.
“These events over the recent past and the associated unfounded allegations have caused considerable distress to Jim and his family. There should never have been any question of Jim facing prosecution in relation to this matter and the announcement from the PPS is long overdue.”
The former Minister had previously claimed that he finds Pride “repugnant” and refused to take part in gay rights debates.
After PinkNews reported on his poor gay rights following his appointment, Mr Wells blocked PinkNews and a number of PinkNews reporters on Twitter.