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Clause 5 - Duty of Director of

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 25th March 2004.

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Photo of Mr Andrew Hunter Mr Andrew Hunter Independent Conservative, Basingstoke 4:15 pm, 25th March 2004

I am aware that the 1998 Act was amended by the 2002 Act. I am concerned that the ombudsman has a role in what I believe to be a matter for the DPP alone. It is unnecessary to bring in the additional dimension of the ombudsman's activities, because the matter could be dealt with by the DPP, whose primary job is to assess whether there is any evidence, and whether the case is strong enough to proceed.

The amendment relates to the duty that was imposed in the 2002 Act, which is repeated in the Bill. On that basis, I repeat the argument that the DPP should have the supreme role. To reduce it to simplicity, he should have the discretionary powers to refer to the ombudsman. On that, I rest the case.