Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Police probe clears cleric of any wrong doing

The former Administrator of Newry Cathedral Parish, Canon Francis Brown, is to return to ministry in the very near future after being “unequivocally cleared” of any wrongdoing following a police probe into an historical allegation.

Canon Brown stepped down from his role in May of last year pending the police investigation into an allegation made against him dating back to 1984.

At the time, the cleric refuted the allegation and said he looked forward to a “thorough and expeditious examination” of the issue.

On Monday last, Canon Brown’s legal representatives issued a statement on his behalf, confirming that the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) will not be prosecuting.

Solicitor Gerard Trainor from Elliot Trainor Partnership, Newry said his client fully cooperated with the police probe and the PPS decision vindicated Canon Brown who has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Trainor said:  “The PPS has now confirmed that there has been a “thorough and robust investigation” into the allegation made against Canon Brown and, while it was not expeditious, Canon Brown has now been notified by the PPS that they intend not to prosecute him in relation to the allegation made.

“The unequivocal decision by the PPS not to prosecute our client vindicates Canon Brown, who has constantly denied any wrongdoing at any time in his life and throughout his ministry as a priest.

“Canon Brown is profoundly grateful to his family, his fellow priests and deacons, his close friends, his parishioners and those many people beyond the Parish in Newry who have been a constant support to him since May 2018.

“Canon Brown is in communication with the church authorities and expects to return to ministry in the very near future,” he added.