Assembly Committee Calls For Improvments In Criminal Justice System

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 16 September 2010

Reference: Jus02/10/11

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Justice is to examine the issue of avoidable delays in processing of criminal justice cases.

At today’s Committee meeting the Chief Inspector of the Criminal Justice Inspectorate, Dr Michael Maguire, briefed the Committee on his follow-up report into avoidable delays in the processing cases. Officials from the Department of Justice, the PSNI, the Public Prosecution Service and the Courts and Tribunals Service also attended the meeting to explain what actions were being taken to address the problems.

Speaking after the meeting Chairman of the Committee, Lord Morrow, MLA said:

“The Committee is very disappointed that so little progress has been made to address the causes of avoidable delays. The Chief Inspector’s first report was in 2006. It is totally unacceptable that most of the performance targets will not be met within the timeframe agreed.

“The Committee is also extremely concerned to hear from the Chief Inspector that the additional costs incurred by these delays are considerable. In this climate of budgetary pressures this is unsustainable. Senior management in all the Criminal Justice organisations must take responsibility for substantially reducing avoidable delays as soon as possible. We will be keeping a close eye on the work being undertaken to ensure satisfactory progress is made over the coming months. ”

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