Clause 1

Part of Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:15 pm on 16th January 2007.

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Photo of Mark Durkan Mark Durkan Leader of the Social Democratic & Labour Party 5:15 pm, 16th January 2007

For the same reasons as others, I do not support the amendments, although I have some sympathy with the points made in support of them. When reading subsection (10) I begin to feel as though I am at a meeting to put together the bones of a soap opera: A can be the spouse or former spouse of B, his civil partner, friend, relative and so on. Those definitions are clearly wide.

The most disturbing point that the Minister made was that the certificate will not indicate the grounds being used to justify it. A defendant will not know whether they are being sent for a non-jury trial because of a relative, friend or other reason. No information will be given: neither the defendant nor the court will know. That will put people in an impossible situation.