Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 06 December 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting commenced at 2.04 p.m. in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

The Chairman, on behalf of the Committee, condemned the physical attacks that had taken place over recent days on Stewart Dickson’s constituency office and other Alliance Party Members’ homes including the Bower family. The Chairman stated that, while in any democracy the right to peaceful protest is upheld, the Committee unanimously supports the rule of law and categorically condemns the use of violence and the physical attacks which cannot in any way be justified.

All the Members of the Committee endorsed the comments made by the Chairman.

The Committee sent its best wishes and support to Mr Dickson and his family and the Bower family.

2. Draft minutes of the meetings held on 27 and 29 November 2012

The Committee approved the draft minutes of the meetings held on 27 November and 29 November 2012.

3. Matters Arising

i    The Committee noted an updated Forward Work Programme for December 2012.

ii    The Committee considered a response on behalf of the Marie Stopes private clinic which indicated that key representatives of the organisation were unable to attend on the 13 December 2012 due to other commitments.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to reschedule the oral evidence session to 10 January 2013.

4. Committee Stage: Criminal Justice Bill – Formal clause by clause consideration

The Chairman advised Members that the Department had written to the Committee in relation to proposed new clauses in relation to Detention Provisions for inclusion in the Criminal Justice Bill.

Tony Kavanagh, Department of Justice, joined the meeting and outlined the purpose of the new clauses which would amend the Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 to rectify a possible incompatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) concerning licence arrangements relating to the release of young offenders convicted of certain serious crimes.

The Committee considered the wording of the proposed new clauses in relation to Detention Provisions.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content with the proposed new clauses.

The Committee commenced its formal clause by clause consideration of the Criminal Justice Bill.

Clause 1 – Review of indefinite offender notification requirements

The Committee considered Clause 1 as drafted.

Question: “That the Committee is content with Clause 1 put and agreed to.”

Clause 2 – Ending notification requirements for acts which are no longer offences

The Committee considered Clause 2 as drafted.

Question: “That the Committee is content with Clause 2 put and agreed to.”

Clause 3 – Offences committed in an EEA State other than the United Kingdom

The Committee considered a proposed departmental amendment to address concerns raised by the Executive and the Attorney General in relation to offences committed in an EEA State other than the United Kingdom.  

Agreed: The Committee was content with the following proposed departmental amendment:

Clause 3, page 2, line 31

Leave out ‘an EEA State other than’ and insert ‘a country outside’

Clause 3, page 2, line 32

Leave out an EEA State other than’ and insert ‘a country outside’

Clause 3, page 2, line 35

Leave out ‘an EEA State other than’ and insert ‘a country outside’

Clause 3, page 3, line 14

Leave out ‘State’ and insert ‘country’

Clause 3, page 3, line 24

Leave out ‘to the modifications set out below’ and insert

(a) in all cases, to the modifications set out below; and

(b) in a case where the first condition mentioned in subsection (2) is met by reason of

a conviction, finding or caution in a country which is not a member of the Council

of Europe, to the further provisions in section 96B.’

Clause 3, page 4, line 18

Leave out ‘State’ and insert ‘country’

Clause 3, page 4, line 24

Leave out ‘an EEA State other than’ and insert ‘a country outside’

Clause 3, page 4, line 25 at end insert—

‘Offences committed in a country which is not a member of the Council of Europe

96B.—(1) The further provisions referred to in section 96A(5)(b) are as follows.

(2) Where P is charged with an offence under section 97(1)(a), it is a defence for P to

prove that the relevant conviction, finding or caution falls within subsection (4).

(3) P shall cease to be subject to the notification requirements of this Part by virtue of

section 96A if the High Court, on an application made by P in accordance with rules of

court, so orders; but the High Court shall not make such an order unless it is satisfied that

the relevant conviction, finding or caution falls within subsection (4).

(4) A conviction, finding or caution falls within this subsection if the relevant court is

satisfied—

(a) that any investigation or proceedings leading to it was conducted in a way which

contravened any of the Convention rights which P would have had if those

investigations or proceedings had taken place in the United Kingdom; and

(b) that contravention was such that, in the opinion of the court, the conviction,

finding or caution cannot safely be relied on for the purposes of meeting the

condition in section 96A(2).    

(5) In this section—

“the relevant conviction, finding or caution” means the conviction, finding or caution

by reason of which P is subject, by virtue of section 96A, to the notification

requirements of this Part;

“the relevant court” means—

(a) in a case to which subsection (2) applies, the court before which P is charged;

(b) in a case to which subsection (3) applies, the High Court.”.’

Clause 3, page 4, line 26

Leave out from beginning to ‘section 97’ in line 29 and insert—

‘(3) Omit sections 97 to 101 (notification orders).

(4) Subsection (3) (and the related repeals in Part I of Schedule 4) do not affect the

validity or effect of any order made under section 97 or lOU

Clause 3, page 4

Leave out line 33 and insert for “98” substitute “96A(6).”

Question: “That the Committee is content with Clause 3 subject to the Department’s proposed amendments put and agreed to.

Clause 4 – Sexual offences prevention orders

The Committee considered Clause 4 as drafted.

Question: “That the Committee is content with Clause 4 put and agreed to.”    

Schedule 1 – Schedule 3A to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, as inserted      

The Committee considered Schedule 1 as drafted.

Question: “That the Committee is content with Schedule 1 put and agreed to.”

Proposed additional amendment from the Department in relation to sex offender notification

The Committee considered the Departments’s proposed additional clause to address a gap in current legislation concerning details and information to be provided to the PSNI by offenders who travel within the UK.

Question: “That the Committee is content with the new clause as proposed by the Department as follows:

New Clause

After clause 1 insert—

‘Notification requirements: absence from notified residence

.—(1) Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 85 insert—

‘Notification requirements: absence from notified residence

85A.—(1) This section applies to a relevant offender at any time if the last

home address notified by him under section 83(1), 84(1) or 85(1) was an address

in Northern Ireland such as is mentioned in section 83(7)(a) (sole or main

residence). 

(2) If the relevant offender intends to be absent from that home address for a

period ofmore than 3 days (“the relevant period”), the relevant offender must, not

less than 12 hours before leaving that home address, notify to the police the

information set out in subsection (3).

(3) The information is—

(a) the date on which the relevant offender will leave that home address;

(b) such details as the relevant offender holds about—

(i) his travel arrangements during the relevant period;

(ii) his accommodation arrangements during that period;

(iii) his date of return to that home address.

(4) In this section—

“travel arrangements” include, in particular, details of the means of transport

to be used and the dates of travel,

“accommodation arrangements” include, in particular, the address of any

accommodation at which the relevant offender will spend the night during

the relevant period and the nature of that accommodation.

(5) Where—

(a) a relevant offender has given a notification under subsection (2); and

(b) at any time before that mentioned in that subsection, the information

notified becomes inaccurate or incomplete,

the relevant offender must give a further notification under subsection (2).

(6) Where a relevant offender—

(a) has notified a date of return to his home address, but

(b) returns to his home address on a date other than that notified,

the relevant offender must notif, the date of his actual return to the police

within 3 days of his actual return.

(7) Nothing in this section requires an offender to notify any information which

falls to be notified in accordance with a requirement imposed by regulations

under section 86.

(8) In calculating the relevant period for the purposes of this section there is to

be disregarded—

(a) any period or periods which the relevant offender intends to spend at, or

travelling directly to or from, an address of the kind mentioned in section

83(5)(g) notified to the police under section 83 or 85;

(b) any period or periods which the relevant offender intends to spends at, or

travelling directly to or from, any premises, if his stay at those premises

would give rise to a requirement to notify the address of those premises

under section 84(l)(c).

(9) This section applies in relation to any relevant period which begins on or

after the day after the coming into operation of section (Not/lcation

requirements: absence from noq,fied residence,) of the Criminal Justice Act

(Northern Ireland) 2012.”.

(3) In section 87(1) and (4) (method of notification) for “or 85(1)” substitute “, 85(1) or

85A(2) or (6)”.

(4) Tn section 91 (offences)—

(a) in subsection (1)(a) after 85(1)” insert”, 85A(2) or (6)”;

(b) in subsection (l)(b) for “or 85(1)” substitute”, 85(1) or 85A(2) or (6)”;

(c) in subsection (3) for “or 85(1)” substitute “, 85(1) or 85A(2) or (6)”.

put and agreed to.”

Clause 5 – Trafficking people for sexual exploitation

The Committee considered Clause 5 as drafted.

Question: “That the Committee is content with Clause 5 put and agreed to.”

Clause 6  - Trafficking people for other exploitation

The Committee considered Clause 6 as drafted.

Question: “That the Committee is content with Clause 6 put and agreed to.”

Schedule 2 – Articles 63B to 63O of the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989, as inserted

Proposed departmental amendment relating to Article 63C

The Committee considered a proposed departmental amendment relating to Article 63C to clarify the provision by linking retention to the perceived utility of the material rather than to the conclusion of the investigation.

Question: “That the Committee is content with the proposed departmental amendment relating to Article 63C as follows:

Schedule 2, page 15, line 14

Leave out from ‘the conclusion’ to end of line 17 and insert ‘the Chief Constable determines that the material is of no evidential value in relation to—

(a) the investigation of the offence; or

(b) proceedings against any person for the offence.’

put and agreed to.” 

Proposed departmental amendments relating to Article 63D

The Committee considered proposed departmental amendments relating to Article 63D which set out on the face of the Bill the prescribed circumstances.

Question: “That the Committee is content with the proposed departmental amendments relating to Article 63D as follows:

Schedule 2, page 15, line 41

Leave out from beginning to end of line 3 on page 16 and insert ‘and

(c) the Northern Ireland Commissioner for the Retention of Biometric Material has consented under Article 63DA to the retention of the material.’

Schedule 2, page 16, line 37

Leave out paragraph (13)

Schedule 2, page 17,

Leave out lines 12 and 13 and insert—

Retention of Article 63B material by virtue of Article 63D(5): consent of Commissioner

63DA.—(1) The Chief Constable may apply under paragraph (2) or (3) to the Commissioner appointed under Article 63D(1 1) for consent to the retention of Article 63B material which falls within Article 63D(5)(a) and (b).

(2) The Chief Constable may make an application under this paragraph if the Chief Constable considers that the material was taken (or, in the case of a DNA profile, derived from a sample taken) in connection with the investigation of an offence where any alleged victim of the offence was, at the time of the offence—

(a) under the age of 18,

(b) a vulnerable adult, or

(c) associated with the person to whom the material relates.

(3) The Chief Constable may make an application under this paragraph if the Chief Constable considers that—

(a) the material is not material to which paragraph (2) relates, but

(b) the retention of the material is necessary in the interests of public protection.

(4) The Department of Justice may by order amend paragraph (2) or (3).

(5) The Commissioner may, on an application under this Article, consent to the retention of material to which the application relates if the Commissioner considers that it is appropriate to retain the material.

(6) But where notice is given under paragraph (7) in relation to the application, the

Commissioner must, before deciding whether or not to give consent, consider any representations by the person to whom the material relates which are made within the period of 28 days beginning with the day on which the notice is given.

(7) The Chief Constable must give to the person to whom the material relates notice of—

(a) an application under this Article, and

(b) the right to make representations.

(8) Without prejudice to section 24 of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954 (service of documents), a notice under paragraph (7) may, in particular, be given to a person by sending it to the person by email or other electronic means.

(9) The requirement in paragraph (7) does not apply if the whereabouts of the person to whom the material relates is not known and cannot, after reasonable inquiry, be ascertained by the Chief Constable.

(10) An application or notice under this Article must be in writing.

(11) In this Article—

“victim” includes intended victim,

“vulnerable adult” means a person aged 18 or over whose ability to protect himself or herself from violence, abuse or neglect is significantly impaired through physical or mental disability or illness, through old age or otherwise,and the reference in paragraph (2)(c) to a person being associated with another person is to be read in accordance with Article 3(3) to (6) of the Family Homes and Domestic Violence (Northern Ireland) Order 1998.’

The Committee divided: Ayes 4; Noes 0; Abstain 5

AYES                                                                  ABSTAIN

Mr Alex Easton                                                    Mr Seán Lynch

Mr Tom Elliott                                                     Mr Alban Maginness

Mr Paul Givan                                                      Mr Raymond McCartney

Mr William Humphrey                                         Ms Rosaleen McCorley

                                                                                    Mr Patsy McGlone

Agreed: That the Committee is content with the proposed departmental amendments relating to Article 63D.

Proposed departmental amendment relating to an additional provision permitting limited retention in cases where a penalty notice has been issued

The Committee considered a proposed departmental amendment relating to an additional provision permitting limited retention in cases where a penalty notice has been issued under Section 60 of the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.

Question: “That the Committee is content with the new provision as proposed by the Department as follows:

Schedule 2, page 19, line 14, at end insert—

‘Retention of Article 63B material: persons given a penalty notice

63HA.—(1) This Article applies to Article 63B material which—

(a) relates to a person who is given a penalty notice under section 60 of the Justice Act

(Northern Ireland) Act 2011 and in respect of whom no proceedings are brought for the

offence to which the notice relates, and

(b) was taken (or, in the case of a DNA profile, derived from a sample taken) from the person in connection with the investigation of the offence to which the notice relates.

(2) The material may be retained—

(a) in the case of fingerprints, for a period of 2 years beginning with the date on which the fingerprints were taken.

(b) in the case of a DNA profile, for a period of 2 years beginning with—

(i) the date on which the DNA sample from which the profile was derived was taken, or

(ii) if the profile was derived from more than one DNA sample, the date on which the first of those samples was taken.’

The Committee divided: Ayes 4; Noes 0; Abstain 5

AYES                                                                  ABSTAIN

Mr Alex Easton                                                    Mr Seán Lynch

Mr Tom Elliott                                                     Mr Alban Maginness

Mr Paul Givan                                                      Mr Raymond McCartney

Mr William Humphrey                                         Ms Rosaleen McCorley

                                                                                         Mr Patsy McGlone

Agreed: That the Committee is content with the new provision as proposed by the Department.

Schedule 2

Question: “That the Committee is content with Schedule 2 subject to the proposed departmental amendments put and agreed to.”

The Committee divided: Ayes 4; Noes 0; Abstain 5

AYES                                                                  ABSTAIN

Mr Alex Easton                                                    Mr Seán Lynch

Mr Tom Elliott                                                     Mr Alban Maginness

Mr Paul Givan                                                      Mr Raymond McCartney

Mr William Humphrey                                         Ms Rosaleen McCorley

                                                                                    Mr Patsy McGlone

Agreed: That the Committee is content with Schedule 2 subject to the proposed departmental amendments.

Schedule 3 – Amendments: fingerprints, DNA profiles, etc
Proposed departmental amendment to bring the completion of a diversionary youth conference within the framework on the same basis as a caution.

The Committee considered a proposed departmental amendment to bring the completion of a diversionary youth conference within the framework on the same basis as a caution.

Question: “That the Committee is content with the new provision as proposed by the Department as follows:

Schedule 3, page 23, line 33

At end insert—

‘and, if Article 63K applies in relation to that person, that person shall be treated for the purposes of that Article as having been given a sentence other than a custodial sentence.

(1A) Where—

(a) a discretionary youth conference under Part 3 of the Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 has been completed with respect to a child and an offence; and

(b) the Director of Public Prosecutions, having considered the report of the youth conference co-ordinator, determines not to institute proceedings against the child in respect of the offence or, as the case may be, not to continue proceedings already instituted against the child in respect of the offence,his Part applies, in relation to the child and the offence, as if the child had been convicted of theoffence and, if Article 63H applies in relation to the child, the child shall be treated for the purposes of that Article as having been given a sentence other than a custodial sentence.’         

The Committee divided: Ayes 4; Noes 0; Abstain 5

AYES                                                                  ABSTAIN

Mr Alex Easton                                                    Mr Seán Lynch

Mr Tom Elliott                                                     Mr Alban Maginness

Mr Paul Givan                                                      Mr Raymond McCartney

Mr William Humphrey                                         Ms Rosaleen McCorley

                                                                                    Mr Patsy McGlone

Agreed: That the Committee is content with the new provision as proposed by the Department.         

Proposed departmental amendment to correct a drafting error

The Committee considered a proposed amendment by the Department to correct a drafting error in Schedule 3.

Question: “That the Committee is content with the amendment as proposed by the Department as follows:

Schedule 3. page 24, line 6

Leave out from beginning to “1 8(8)(b)” in line 9 and insert—

‘5. In Article 89 (orders and regulations) after paragraph (2) insert—

“(2A) An order under Article 63DA(4) shall not be made unless a draft of the order has

been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the Assembly.

The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (c. 28)

6. In section 1 8(8)(c)’

Put and agreed to”

Question: “That the Committee is content with Schedule 3 subject to the proposed departmental amendments put and agreed to.”

The Committee divided: Ayes 4; Noes 0; Abstain 

AYES                                                                  ABSTAIN

Mr Alex Easton                                                    Mr Seán Lynch

Mr Tom Elliott                                                     Mr Alban Maginness

Mr Paul Givan                                                      Mr Raymond McCartney

Mr William Humphrey                                         Ms Rosaleen McCorley

                                                                                 Mr Patsy McGlone

Agreed: That the Committee is content with Schedule 3 subject to the proposed departmental amendments.

Clause 7 – Retention of fingerprints, DNA profiles, etc.

The Committee considered Clause 7 as drafted

Question: “That the Committee is content with Clause 7 put and agreed to.”

The Committee divided: Ayes 4; Noes 0; Abstain 5

AYES                                                                  ABSTAIN

Mr Alex Easton                                                    Mr Seán Lynch

Mr Tom Elliott                                                     Mr Alban Maginness

Mr Paul Givan                                                      Mr Raymond McCartney

Mr William Humphrey                                         Ms Rosaleen McCorley

                                                                                  Mr Patsy McGlone

Agreed: That the Committee is content with Clause 7 as drafted. 

Proposed additional amendment from the Department in relation to Detention Provisions

Question: “That the Committee is content with the new clauses as proposed by the Department as follows:

New Clause

After Clause 7 insert—

‘Release on licence of child convicted of serious offence

.—(1) In Article 45(2) of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 1998

(child convicted of serious offence) for “notwithstanding any other provisions of

this Order” substitute “subject to Articles 46 to 46B”.

(2) In Article 45 of that Order after paragraph (2) insert—

“(2A) Where a court passes a sentence under paragraph (2). the court

shall specify such part of the sentence as the court considers appropriate

as the relevant part of the sentence for the purposes of Article 46 (release

on licence).”.

(3) For Article 46 of that Order substitute—

“Release on licence

46.—(1) In this Article—

(a) “P” means a person detained under Article 45(2);

(b) “the Commissioners” means the Parole Commissioners for

Northern Ire land;

(c) “the Department” means the Department of Justice; and

(d) references to the relevant part of P’s sentence are references to

the part of P’s sentence specified as such under Article 45(2A).

(2) As soon as—

(a) P has served the relevant part of P’s sentence; and

(b) the Commissioners have directed P’s release under this Article,

the Department shall release P on licence.

(3) The Commissioners shall not give a direction under paragraph (2)

with respect to P unless—

(a) the Department has referred P’s case to the Commissioners; and

(b) the Commissioners are satisfied that it is no longer necessary for

the protection of the public from serious harm that P should be

detained.

(4) P may require the Department to refer P’s case to the

Commissioners at any time—

(a) after P has served the relevant part of P’s sentence; and

(b) where there has been a previous reference of P’s case to the

Commissioners under paragraph (3) or Article 46B(4), after the

end of the period of 12 months beginning with the disposal of that

reference.

(5) In determining for the purpose of this Article whether P has served

the relevant part of P’s sentence, no account shall be taken of any time

during which P was unlawfully at large, unless the Department otherwise

directs.

(6) The Department may at any time release P on licence if it is

satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist which justify P’s release on

compassionate grounds.

(7) Before releasing P under paragraph (6), the Department shall

consult the Commissioners, unless the circumstances are such as to render

such consultation impracticable.

(8) Nothing in this Article requires the Department to release a person

in respect of a sentence under Article 45(2) at any time when that person

is liable to be detained in respect of any other sentence.

Duration and conditions of licences under Article 46

46A.—{1) Where a person is released on licence under Article 46, the

licence shall, unless previously revoked under Article 46B, remain in

force until the expiry of the period for which the person was sentenced to

be detained.

(2) A person released on licence under Article 46 shall comply with

such conditions as may for the time being be specified in the licence

(which may include on release conditions as to supervision by a probation

officer).

(3) The Department of Justice shall not, except in accordance with

recommendations of the Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland—

(a) include a condition in a licence on release,

(b) subsequently insert a condition in a licence, or

(c) vary or cancel any condition in a licence.

Recall of licensees

46B.—(1) In this Article—

“P” means a person who has been released on licence under Article

46;

“the Commissioners” and “the Department” have the meanings

given in Article 46(1).

(2) The Department may revoke P’s licence and recall P to detention—

(a) if recommended to do so by the Commissioners, or

(b) without such a recommendation, if it appears to the Department

that it is expedient in the public interest to recall P before such a

recommendation is practicable.

(3)P—

(a) shall, on P’s return to detention, be informed of the reasons for the

recall and of the right conferred by sub-paragraph (b); and

(b) may make representations in writing to the Department with

respect to the recall.

(4) The Department shall refer P’s case to the Commissioners.

(5) Where on a reference under paragraph (4) the Commissioners direct

P’s immediate release on licence under Article 46, the Department shall

give effect to the direction.

(6) The Commissioners shall not give a direction under paragraph (5)

unless they are satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of

the public from serious harm that P should be confined.

(7) On the revocation of P’s licence, P shall be liable to be detained in

pursuance of P’s sentence and, if at large, shall be treated as being

unlawfully at large.”.

(5) In Article 46(3) of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008

Functions of Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland) at the end add “or

Articles 46 to 46B of the Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland) Order

2008.”

(6) Where—

(a) on commencement a person is detained in pursuance of a sentence under

Article 45(2) of the 1998 Order; and

(b) the Department, after consultation with the Lord Chief Justice and the trial

judge if available, certifies its opinion that, if the amendments made by

this section had been in operation at the time when that person was

sentenced, the court by which that person was sentenced would have

specified as the relevant part of the sentence such part as is specified in

the certificate,

Article 46 of the 1998 Order (as substituted) shall apply as if the relevant part of

that person’s sentence for the purposes of that Article were the part specified in

the certificate.

(7) But subsection (6) does not apply (and subsection (8) applies instead) where

that person is a person whose licence has been revoked under Article 46(2) of the

1998 Order.

(8) Where this subsection applies, paragraphs (3) to (6) of Article 46B of the

1998 Order have effect as if that person had been recalled to prison under

paragraph (2) of that Article on commencement

(9) Articles 46A and 46B of the 1998 Order apply to an existing licensee as

they apply to a person who is released on licence under Article 46 of that Order

as substituted).

(10) In this section—

“commencement” means the date on which this section comes into operation;

“existing licensee” means a person who, before commencement, has been

discharged on licence under Article 46 of the 1998 Order and whose

licence is in force on commencement;

“the 1998 Order” means the Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland)

Order 1998.’

put and agreed to.”

Proposed additional amendment from the Department in relation to the Registered Intermediaries Scheme

The Committee considered the Department’s proposed additional clause in relation to the Registered Intermediaries Scheme.

Question: “That the Committee is content with the new clause as proposed by the Department as follows:

New Clause

After clause 7 insert—

‘Examination of accused through intermediary

.—{1) In section 12(1) of the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 (which at the passing

of this Act is not in operation), the inserted Article 21BA of the Criminal Evidence

(Northern Ireland) Order 1999 is amended as follows.

(2) At the beginning of paragraph (2) insert “Subject to paragraph (2A),”.

(3) After paragraph (2) insert—

“(2A) A court may not give a direction under paragraph (3) unless—

(a) the court has been notified by the Department of Justice that arrangements

for implementing such a direction have been made in relation to that

court, and

(b) the notice has not been withdrawn.

(2B) The withdrawal of a notice given to a court under paragraph (2A) does not

affect the operation of any direction under paragraph (3) given by that court

before the notice is withdrawn.”.’

put and agreed to.”

Clause 8 – Repeals    

The Committee considered Clause 8 as drafted.

Question: “That the Committee is content with Clause 8 put and agreed to.”

Clause 9 – Commencement and transititional, etc. provisions

The Committee considered the Department’s proposed amendments to Clause 9 as a consequence of the proposed new provisions in relation to the Registered Intermediaries Scheme and the licence arrangements relating to the release of young offenders convicted of certain serious crimes.

Question: That the Committee is content with the following proposed departmental amendments:

Clause 9, page 8, line 2, after ‘sections 2’ insert ‘, (Examination of accused through intermediary)’.”

Clause 9, page 8, line 2

After ‘sections 2’ insert , (Release on licence of child convicted of serious offence)’ put and agreed to”.

Question: “That the Committee is content with Clause 9 subject to the proposed departmental amendments put and agreed to”

Clause 10 – Short title

The Committee considered Clause 10 as drafted.

Question: “That the Committee is content with Clause 10 put and agreed to.”

Schedule 4 - Repeals

The Committee considered a proposed departmental amendment to Schedule 4 as a result of the proposed amendment to Clause 3.

Question: “That the Committee is content with the proposed departmental amendment as follows:

Schedule 4, page 24, line 17,

At end insert—

‘PART 1

SEX OFFENDERS   

Short Title                                     Extent of repeal

The Sexual Offences Act               Sections 97 to 101.

2003 (c. 42).                                 In section 136(8) “101”.’               

put and agreed to”.

Question: That the Committee is content with Schedule 4 subject to the proposed departmental amendment put and agreed to”.

Proposed additional clause by the Committee for Justice in relation to scandalising the court

The Committee considered its proposed additional clause in relation to abolishing the offence of scandalising the court.

Question: “That the Committee is content with the new clause as follows:

Clause 7, page 7, line 35

At end insert –

‘Abolition of the offence of scandalising the court

7A. The common law offence of scandalising the court is abolished.’

Long Title

The Committee considered proposed departmental amendments to the Long Title as a consequence of the proposed new provisions in relation to the Registered Intermediaries Scheme and the licence arrangements relating to the release of young offenders convicted of certain serious crimes.  

Question: “That the Committee is content with the proposed departmental amendments to the Long Title as follows:

At end insert ‘and to provide for the release on licence of persons detained

under Article 45(2) of the Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland) Order

1998’ 

Leave out ‘and to’ and insert ‘;to’

At end insert ‘; and to amend Article 21BA of the Criminal Evidence (Northern

Ireland) Order 1999.’

put and agreed to”.

Question: That the Committee is content with the Long Title subject to the proposed departmental amendments put and agreed to”.

The Chairman advised Members that the formal clause by clause scrutiny of the Criminal Justice Bill had concluded.

The session on the Criminal Justice Bill was covered by Hansard.

Agreed:    The Committee agreed to move agenda items 5 and 6 to the end of the meeting.

5.    SR No. 2012/407 The Juries (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 

The Committee considered Statutory Rule 2012/407 The Juries (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 which updates prescribed forms in relation to jury service.

Agreed:    The Committee for Justice considered Statutory Rule 2012/407 The Juries (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the Rule.

6.    SR No. 2012/413 The International Recovery of Maintenance (Hague Convention 2007 etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 

The Committee considered Statutory Rule 2012/413 The International Recovery of Maintenance (Hague Convention 2007 etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 which will make the technical amendments required to Northern Ireland law to support the operation of the 2007 Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance.

Agreed:    The Committee for Justice considered Statutory Rule 2012/413 The International Recovery of Maintenance (Hague Convention 2007 etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the Rule.

7.    SR No. 2012/419 The Legal Advice and Assistance (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 

The Committee considered Statutory Rule 2012/419 The Legal Advice and Assistance (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 which will provide for assistance by way of representation in a Magistrates’ Court for Declarations of Parentage; a statutory footing for issues currently provided by Authorisations by the Minister of Justice; and interim payment of disbursements under the assistance by way of representation scheme.

Agreed:    The Committee for Justice considered Statutory Rule 2012/419 The Legal Advice and Assistance (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the Rule.

8. SL1 - The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Notification Requirements) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2013

The Committee considered a proposal to make a Statutory Rule to amend existing notification arrangements in place for sex offenders to require them to provide additional information to police.

Agreed:     The Committee agreed that it was content with the proposed Statutory Rule and requested that the Department keeps it updated in relation to the Judicial Review in relation to similar notification requirements in England and Wales.

9. SL1 - Police Service of Northern Ireland Pensions (Amendment) Regulations 2013

The Committee considered a proposal to make a Statutory Rule which would detail how increases to police pension contribution rates are structured into three tiers for the period 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014.

Agreed:     The Committee noted the proposed Statutory Rule and agreed to consider the matter further when the Statutory Rule is laid.

2.50 p.m. Alex Easton left the meeting.

10. Correspondence

i      The Committee noted a response from the Minister of Justice regarding the shared view of the Committee and the Northern Ireland Policing Board that there is no necessity for a voluntary Protocol on the Policing Architecture.

ii     The Committee considered a response from the Department of Justice providing details of the programmes put in place by the Department to tackle inequalities across the social gradient in the early years.

Agreed:     The Committee agreed to forward a copy of the response to the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety for information.

iii    The Committee noted correspondence from the Department of Justice indicating that the Minister has accepted the suggestion from the Committee to include provision for a statutory duty on the defence to inform their client of the benefits of an early guilty plea and to advise the court that this has been complied with in the forthcoming Faster, Fairer Justice Bill.

iv    The Committee noted correspondence from the Department of Justice regarding two issues that require legislative provision: The establishment of the Northern Ireland Police Fund (NIPF) and the Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust (PRRT); and, Revising the method for changing Court Funds Office (CFO) Interest Rates which will be included in the Department of Finance and Personnel’s Financial Provisions Bill.

v     The Committee noted correspondence from the Department of Justice regarding the publication of a Youth Justice Agency statistical bulletin No 3/2012: Provisional Workload Statistics: April –September 2012.

vi    The Committee noted correspondence from the Department of Justice providing a copy of a draft consultation document from the Health and Safety Executive on EU Regulation No 649/2012 concerning the Import and Export of Hazardous Chemicals.

vii   The Committee noted correspondence from the Department of Justice regarding the appointment of Mr Brendan McGuigan as Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice for Northern Ireland, with effect from 30 November 2012.

viii  The Committee considered correspondence from the Department of Justice regarding a Mr McCourt’s concerns in relation to the Compensation Act 1988 and convictions quashed on appeal.

Agreed:     The Committee agreed to forward a copy of  the response to Mr McCourt for information.

Agreed:     The Committee agreed to request further information from the Department of Justice on how the compensation scheme operates in this type of case.

ix    The Committee noted correspondence from the Department of Justice regarding the publication of bulletin No 2/2012 ‘Perceptions of Policing, Justice and Organised Crime: Findings from the 2010/11 Northern Ireland Crime Survey’.

x     The Committee noted correspondence from the Public Morals Committee of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland regarding the opening of the Marie Stopes private clinic. 

xi    The Committee considered correspondence from John Fahy Solicitors regarding the legislative provisions for a review mechanism for sex offender notification in the Criminal Justice Bill.

Agreed:     The Committee agreed to write to John Fahy Solicitors advising of the end date for the Committee Stage of the Bill and the publication of the Committee’s report.

xii   The Committee noted the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People research report entitled ‘Still Vulnerable: The Impact of Early Childhood Experiences on Adolescent Suicide and Accidental Death’.

xiii  The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding a briefing paper from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Agreed:     The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Department of Justice for a response on the issues relevant to justice.

xiv  The Committee considered correspondence from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure regarding a National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children briefing in relation to safeguarding in sport.

Agreed:     The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Department of Justice for a response on the issues raised.

xv   The Committee noted a copy of the Criminal Justice Inspection newsletter for November 2012.

xvi  The Committee noted an invitation from the Northern Ireland Children’s University to a  briefing seminar in Parliament Buildings on Tuesday 19 February 2013.

Agreed:     Members agreed to contact the Clerk if they wished to attend the seminar.

xvii The Committee noted a copy of the University of Ulster’s research report entitled ‘Attitudes to Peace Walls’.

11.  Chairman’s Business

i. The Chairman informed Members that he had accepted an invitation to open a Knowledge Exchange Seminar on promoting alternative dispute resolution in Northern Ireland on Thursday 13 December 2012 in Parliament Buildings.

ii    The Chairman informed Members that he and the Deputy Chairman had met with the Lord Chief Justice to discuss a range of issues including measures to reduce avoidable delay in the criminal justice system, the work of the Sentencing Group and women in law. Further information will be provided in due course.

12.  Any Other Business

None.

13.  NI Prison Service Outline Estate Strategy consultation responses and Departmental Position

Sue McAllister, Director General, Max Murray, Director of Estates, Joanne McBurney, Director of Finance and Corporate Services, and Geoff Rossington, Infrastructure Manager, Northern Ireland Prison Service joined the meeting at 2.56 p.m.

The officials outlined the responses to the consultation on the NI Prison Service Outline Estate Strategy and the interim decisions taken by the Minister of Justice.

A detailed question and answer session followed covering issues including: the capital cost of implementing the changes proposed in the Estates Strategy; the extent to which the Director General’s thinking influenced the Minister’s interim decisions; what new thinking the Director General had brought to the process and what influenced her thinking; the security implications associated with the three mini prisons proposal for HM Prison Maghaberry; whether the three mini prisons proposal would result in a better prison environment; internal security zoning within each mini prison; where separated prisoners would be accomodated; the distinction between separated and high security prisoners; the reasons why Mourne House is not suitable for high security prisoners; the level of refurbishment and new build required at Magilligan; the implementation plan and timeline for the delivery of the Estate proposals; the role of the Prison Oversight Group in relation to the Estate Strategy; issues around the location of prisons and the impact on prisoners and their families and possible solutions; how any new design would cater for rehabilitation; the proposed secure College at Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre, the proposed new delivery model and the likely impact on existing teachers and instructors; the challenges associated with the proposed Working Out Unit at Crumlin Road; support available for prisoners when they leave prison; suicide rates in prison; and the visit by Irish TDs to the seperated prisoners in Roe House and the purpose of the visit.

3.29 p.m. William Humphrey left the meeting.

The officials agreed to provide further information on prisoners in HM Prison Magilligan and where they are from in Northern Ireland.

The Chairman thanked the officials for the briefing and they left the meeting.

Agreed:     The Committee agreed to consider the issue further when the Minister of Justice makes his statement on his final decisions on the NI Prison Service Estate Strategy.

14.  Proposals for the use of Victim Personal Statements, Expert Victim Impact Reports and Community Impact Assessments 

Maura Campbell, Head of Criminal Justice Development Division, Veronica Holland and Maurice Campbell, Criminal Justice Development Division, Department of Justice joined the meeting at 4.03 p.m.

The officials outlined the results of the community impact assessment consultation and the plans for formalising the use of Victim Personal Statements, Expert Victim Impact Reports and Community Impact Assessments.

A question and answer session followed covering issues including: community impact asssessments and how relevant communities would be identified; the process in relation to obtaining community assessment statements; the difference between victim personal statements and expert victim impact reports; whether victim personal statements would be read out in court; the weight attached to victim personal statements; how victim personal statements would help victims; the extent to which victim personal statements are used in England and Wales; and how the proposals would work in a case where an early guilty plea is lodged.

The Chairman thanked the officials for the briefing and they left the meeting.

15.  Date and time of next meeting

The next meeting will take place on Thursday 13 December 2013 at 2.00 p.m. in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

4.22 p.m. The meeting was adjourned.

Mr Paul Givan MLA
Chairman, Committee for Justice
13 December 2012

Find Your MLA

Locate your local MLA

Find MLA

News and Media Centre

Read press releases, watch live and archived video.

Find out more

Follow the Assembly

Keep up to date with what's happening at the Assembly.

Find out more

Subscribe

Enter your email address to keep up to date

Sign up