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Fundamental change still required to transform justice system - Kelly

11 July, 2005

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly, spokesperson on Policing and Justice, said that the fundamental change required to implement the Good Friday Agreement "has not yet penetrated the hardcore of the criminal justice system".

Mr Kelly was speaking after a recent meeting with Lord Clyde, Oversight Commissioner for Criminal Justice, on the release of his latest report:

"Thorough oversight and scrutiny of the justice system is critical to measuring and verifying transformation. This latest report by Lord Clyde provides a useful contribution towards that work. Unfortunately, the findings of this report together with the facts on the ground and other recent developments in criminal justice show that the Good Friday Agreement has still not penetrated the hardcore of the system in the six counties."

"Sinn Fein raised a number of concerns about the pace and scale of change in the justice system with Lord Clyde. Among the areas of greatest concern were: the political vetting of Community Restorative Justice programmes; interference in the conduct and the overhaul of the inquest system; the ongoing pattern of political prosecutions associated with a section of the justice system; the failure by the Director of Public Prosecutions to give reasons for not prosecuting in certain cases; the use of Special Advocates and interference with disclosure of information to defence solicitors; and the failure to speedily operationalise a system for equity monitoring of prosecutions, convictions and sentencing."

"Sinn Fein reiterated the need for the speedy transfer of powers on policing and justice and raised concerns about any attempt by British securocrats to impair this process. Repressive emergency legislation and the continuing use of non-jury Diplock courts must be done away with for real transformation to be achieved. Our party remains focussed on creating that new dispensation."


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