Second Stage

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 11:30 am on 3rd March 2009.

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Photo of Basil McCrea Basil McCrea UUP 11:30 am, 3rd March 2009

I realise that much of the Bill is technical in nature, so I do not propose to detain the Assembly unduly. I will take the opportunity to ask a number of questions, because I did not have the benefit of seeing the briefings that were given to Committees.

Mr Newton talked about absolute privilege for the purposes of the law of defamation. Presumably, defamation occurs only when people have been wrongly accused. Although I totally understand the need to ensure the timely delivery of reports and suchlike, I wonder what redress people have if they feel that they have been defamed. Perhaps the Minister will address that issue at some stage. A situation would arise only if — in ordinary circumstances and at a later date — court proceedings might take place.