Irish Republican News · July 12, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
SF concern over Criminal Justice reform

Criminal justice oversight commissioner, Britain’s Lord Clyde, has published his fourth oversight report on the progress of the recommendations.

Referring to the fact that criminal justice has not yet been devolved to local politicians, Lord Clyde said that there are outstanding matters “which have always been related, directly or indirectly, to devolution of the criminal justice system”.

The criminal justice review proposed 294 separate recommendations to reform the legal system in the North.

“There is more work to be done,” declared Clyde.

Lord Clyde said that while the question of devolution is political, his oversight role is to “report on what progress is being made [on recommendations] and, so far as I can, try and facilitate work towards that end”.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing and Justice Gerry Kelly said that the fundamental change required to implement the Good Friday Agreement “has not yet penetrated the hardcore of the criminal justice system”.

Mr Kelly was speaking after a recent meeting with Clyde on the release of his report. He raised a number of concerns about the pace and scale of change in the justice system.

Among the areas of greatest concern were: the political vetting of Community Restorative Justice programmes; interference in the conduct and the overhaul of the inquest system; the ongoing pattern of political prosecutions associated with a section of the justice system; the failure by the Director of Public Prosecutions to give reasons for not prosecuting in certain cases; the use of Special Advocates and interference with disclosure of information to defence solicitors; and the failure to speedily operationalise a system for equity monitoring of prosecutions, convictions and sentencing.

“This latest report by Lord Clyde provides a useful contribution towards that work,” said Mr Kelly.

“Unfortunately, the findings of this report together with the facts on the ground and other recent developments in criminal justice show that the Good Friday Agreement has still not penetrated the hardcore of the system in the six counties.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News