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Orde fails to address core Justice issue

30 March, 2004

Reacting to comments made by the PSNI Chief Constable regarding the performance of the judicial system in the six counties, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Issues Gerry Kelly said that Mr Orde 'failed to address the complete lack of confidence nationalists had in the Criminal Justice system'.

Mr Kelly said:

"Mr Orde's comments regarding what he suggests is leniency within the Criminal Justice system in the north miss the core issue. There is of course a leniency shown towards unionist paramilitary figures by the judiciary in the six counties. This fact is indisputable.

"Nationalists and republicans have been and continue to be on the receiving end of a criminal justice system which has more to do with Britain's war effort than administering justice.

"The continuing legacy of the Diplock courts and what is a clear anti-nationalist bias within the heart of the criminal justice system here has resulted in a complete lack of confidence in the entire system amongst nationalists and republicans.

"That is why the issue of criminal justice was in the Good Friday Agreement. A Criminal Justice Bill is currently making its way through Westminster. Sinn Féin are continuing our efforts with the British government to get this issue right yet elements within the British system continue to resist the sort of fundamental change which is required." ENDS

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