Oral Answers to Questions — Justice

Part of the debate – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:45 pm on 17th February 2020.

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Photo of Naomi Long Naomi Long Alliance 2:45 pm, 17th February 2020

I thank the Member for his point. A number of elements have to be considered by judges when they are deciding on the tariff to apply in life sentence cases. However, to be clear, if someone commits murder in Northern Ireland, they will automatically receive a life sentence. The tariff is not the point at which someone is released on parole; it is the first point at which they can apply to be released on parole. Therefore, even someone who is given a life sentence with a relatively low tariff can continue to remain in prison if the parole commissioners judge that that person remains a threat to society.