Prisoners Release: Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland written question – answered on 27th June 2007.

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Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon UUP, North Down

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many prisoners released early on licence in Northern Ireland have had their licences revoked in each of the last three years; and what the reasons were for the revocation in each case.

Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office

The power to revoke the licences of prisoners released early under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 lies with the Sentence Review Commissioners (SRC). The exercise of this power follows the suspension of the licences of those persons by the Secretary of State. The numbers of licence suspensions and revocations in each of the last three years are as follows:

Number suspended Number revoked
2004 1
2005 5
2006 3 1
2007 (as at 22 June) 1

All the persons whose licences have been suspended were believed to have become a danger to the public. In addition, four individuals were also believed to have become concerned again in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism—the single 2004 suspension, two of the 2005 suspensions and one of the 2006 suspensions. Furthermore, in one of the 2005 suspension cases the individual concerned was believed to have again become a supporter of a specified organisation.

The 2006 revocation decision by the SRC in one of these cases was in confirmation of the belief that that person had become a danger to the public. Determination by the SRC remains outstanding on seven of the other nine cases referred to above. Of the two other cases one licence was reinstated and the other individual died in custody.

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