Press Release

Assembly Committee calls on People to respond to Department Consultation

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Reference: Jus03/10/11

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Justice has called on people here to participate in the recently launched consultation by the Department of Justice on a Sentencing Guidelines Mechanism [1].

The Committee was recently briefed on the consultation exercise which is seeking views on the current sentencing arrangements and what role a Sentencing Guidelines Council [2] might have.

Speaking on behalf of the Committee, the Chairman, Lord Morrow MLA said:

“The Committee welcomes this consultation. Most people have opinions about sentences given and whether they are appropriate. This consultation gives everyone the opportunity to express their views which could have a very real impact on any new arrangements the Department makes.
The Committee wants to encourage as many people as possible to take part and respond to the Department’s proposals. Hopefully this will ensure that as wide a range of views and ideas as possible are put forward.”

Notes to Editors:

Sentencing Guidelines Mechanism:

1. The Hillsborough Agreement, published in February 2010, proposed that the Department of Justice should consider the establishment of a Sentencing Guidelines Council for Northern Ireland. In meeting that commitment, the Department of Justice is consulting on the existing sentencing arrangements, examining how sentencing practice could be further enhanced and seeking views on a number of possible delivery options.

2. Sentencing Guidelines Council

The establishment of a Sentencing Guidelines Council is one of three possible options contained in the Department of Justice Consultation. The Sentencing Guidelines Council would have a statutory remit to produce and publish definitive sentencing guidelines after a process of consultation.

Further information on the Consultation on a Sentencing Guidelines Mechanism can be obtained via the following website link.

The consultation exercise ends on Tuesday 18 January 2011.

Membership of the Committee:

The Chairman of the Committee is Lord Morrow MLA. 
The Deputy Chairman is Raymond McCartney MLA.

The Committee has a further nine members:

Lord Browne MLA 
Mr Thomas Buchanan MLA 
Mr Paul Givan MLA 
Mr Alban Maginness MLA 
Mr Conall McDevitt MLA 
Mr David McNarry MLA 
Ms Carál Ní Chuilín MLA 
Mr John O’Dowd MLA

All enquiries regarding the work of the Committee should be directed to the Committee Clerk:

Christine Darrah 
Room 242, Parliament Buildings, 
Ballymiscaw, Stormont, Belfast, BT4 3XX 
Telephone: (028) 9052 1629 
Fax: (028) 9052 1371

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