30/04/2004

Consultation launched on committal proceedings

Criminal Justice Minister, John Spellar today launched a consultation exercise on the future of committal proceedings.

The rationale for change is based on a desire to streamline the system, with a view to making the process more efficient and cost effective, whilst also ensuring the rights of both witnesses and defendants are safeguarded.

The Minister said: "I am pleased to announce today the launch of a consultation exercise on the future of committal proceedings in Northern Ireland. Recommendation 32 of the Criminal Justice Review recommended that consideration be given to simplifying the procedure for transfer of cases to the Crown Court; this document sets out the results of this work.

"The publication of this consultation document is an opportunity for a wide range of people to have their say about these proposed changes. We want to ensure a modern, effective criminal justice system for the people of Northern Ireland; I believe that the proposals we are consulting on will help us to achieve that."

The consultation will run for the standard 12 week period with a closing date of July 31.

(MB)

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