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Lord Chief Justice challenged over political interference

2 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA, Raymond McCartney who is the deputy Chair of the Assembly Executive Review Committee, speaking after the Lord Chief Justice Brian Kerr gave evidence to the committee has said that Sinn Fein raised the issue of political interference, appointments and sentencing.

Speaking after the historic evidence session Mr McCartney said:

"The committee's Inquiry into the transfer of policing and justice powers is hearing evidence from a range of people, including Brian Kerr, the chair of the Policing Board Des Rea and from Shaun Woodward tomorrow.

"We are now down to talking about the how in terms of devolving these powers.

"There has been a widespread perception throughout the conflict that the judiciary has been susceptible to political interference.

"During this evidence session Sinn Fein also challenged the unrepresentative nature of judiciary, particularly in relation to the lack of senior women judges.

"We also raised our concerns about sentencing. In far too many cases there are serious questions about the sentences being handed down for very serious offences, particularly in relation to violence against women." ENDS

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