Northern Ireland Assembly

Part of the debate – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:30 pm on 6th February 2012.

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Photo of David Ford David Ford Alliance 12:30 pm, 6th February 2012

I see no reason why it would disadvantage the most vulnerable. Those who are, in many senses, most vulnerable are the victims, rather than the perpetrators, of crime. I am determined that statutory time limits will allow victims to see cases being dealt with in a speedy and efficient way. The initiatives that we are proposing around early guilty pleas will enable people to gain some credit for making a plea of guilt at an early stage and, in many cases, spare witnesses and victims the trauma of having to appear in court, or even the trauma of having to think that they might have to appear in court. In that regard, both measures would assist the most vulnerable.