31/10/2019

Consultation Begins On NI's Sentencing Policy

The Department of Justice has launched a public consultation on sentencing policy in Northern Ireland.

Members of the public are encouraged to give their views on issues raised in a recent review, such as tariffs for murder, arrangements for unduly lenient sentences and public confidence in the sentencing process.

A number of public engagement events have been arranged for the following month, with submissions welcomed until 06 January 2020. The consultation paper can be viewed here.

Permanent Secretary of the DoJ, Peter May highlighted how sentencing plays an important part in public confidence in the justice system.

He said: "Over the course of the Review we have listened to key stakeholders, victims and offenders. We have engaged with practitioners and colleagues in our neighbouring jurisdictions, and taken the views of sentencing experts.

"This is not a review about sentencing decisions. Sentencing in the individual case is, rightly, a matter for the judiciary and the courts and it is essential that their independence is maintained. However, it is our responsibility to ensure the effectiveness of the legislative framework within which individual sentencing decisions are made, and ensure that there is confidence in the process by which decisions are reached."

Views are being sought on:

• the principles and purposes of sentencing

• public confidence in the sentencing process

• the current legislative framework for sentencing for certain categories of crime

• the setting of tariffs for murder

• arrangements for unduly lenient sentences

• the use of community sentences

• the effectiveness of current sentencing guidance

Informative events are scheduled as follows:

• 11 November Waterfoot Hotel, Derry/Londonderry

• 13 November Fermanagh House, Enniskillen

• 14 November Craigavon Civic Centre, Craigavon

• 04 December Clifton House, Belfast

Further information on the public engagement events and registration can be accessed here.



(JG/CM)

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