Clause 1

Part of Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 16th January 2007.

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Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 5:45 pm, 16th January 2007

Despite the support that I have given to some of the amendments moved by the hon. Member for North Down, I do not believe that they are sufficient to cause us to vote against the clause in its totality. We believe that non-jury courts are essential in some circumstances in Northern Ireland. The implication in some of the opposition to the use of non-jury courts is that somehow or other the justice in non-jury courts is different from or of a lesser standard than that in a jury court. That was never the purpose of non-jury courts; the purpose of non-jury courts was to ensure that justice was done. Justice was done by stopping the interference of those who would wish to subvert the justice system by intimidating jurors. That   is one of the reasons that I do not have a great deal of concern about the continued use of non-jury courts. I see them as a means of ensuring that the integrity of the justice system remains and is protected, and that people who would have been guilty of horrific offences are brought to justice.