NORTHERN IRELAND

[2020] UKSC 6
[2020] UKSC 6
SC (Lady Hale PSC, Lord Wilson JSC, Lord Carnwath JSC, Lord Lloyd-Jones JSC, Lord Sales JSC)
19 February 2020

The Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction to entertain appeals against a decision of the Divisional Court of Northern Ireland concerning the lawfulness of a life prisoner’s release on licence. The proceedings did not constitute a “criminal cause or matter” for the purposes of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 s.41(1); the proper avenue of appeal was to the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland.

[2020] NICA 1
[2020] NICA 1
CA (NI) (Morgan LCJ, Stephens LJ, McCloskey LJ)
8 January 2020

The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland gave guidance on the correct approach to sentencing for fraud and theft where an offender was in a position of trust.

[2019] NICA 75
[2019] NICA 75
CA (NI) (McCloskey LJ, O'Hara J, Huddleston J)
20 December 2019

The court considered the violent offences prevention order regime under the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 Pt 8, including the distinction between an order imposed at sentence and a free-standing order, and provided general guidance as to the relevant legal test for imposition of such an order and procedural fairness.

[2019] NICA 66
[2019] NICA 66
CA (NI) (Stephens LJ, Treacy LJ, Keegan J)
25 November 2019

The Court of Appeal (Northern Ireland) considered the appropriate reduction to a sentence when an offender pleaded guilty at arraignment but did not indicate his intention to plead guilty at the outset. In particular, it considered whether the attitude of the offender at interview should be taken into account, and whether the present guidance was consistent with the terms of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 art.33(1). It also considered whether there was an impact on the level of discount if the offender was caught red-handed or if there was no viable defence.

[2019] NICA 64
[2019] NICA 64
CA (NI) (Stephens LJ, Treacy LJ, Keegan J)
22 November 2019

Although a sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment for possession of prohibited weapons and possession of guns and ammunition was unduly lenient, it did not follow that the sentence had to be quashed. A judge erred in reducing the sentence to take into account the guilty plea and then reduce again to take into account the mitigation. However, it was unfair to increase the sentence which would require the offender to return to prison especially as in the instant case the Prosecution sought to advance a new case.

[2019] NIQB 89
[2019] NIQB 89
QBD (NI) (Keegan J)
14 October 2019

The court considered whether the policy of the Police Service of Northern Ireland to review and retain a disruption notice breached the ECHR art.8. On analysis of the policy documentation, the retention period for the notice was 100 years or until the applicant turned 100, with no possibility of review and that breached the applicant’s Convention rights.

[2019] NIQB 75
[2019] NIQB 75
QBD (NI) (Colton J)
9 August 2019

The police exercise of stop and search powers under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 s.21 and s.24 was lawful in its application to minors. There were sufficient safeguards, including the Code of Practice for the Exercise of Powers in the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007, introduced under s.34(4) of the Act, to meet the “quality of law” test for interference with the rights of minors under ECHR art.8.

[2019] NIQB 77
[2019] NIQB 77
QBD (NI) (Stephens LJ)
8 August 2019

When the court was considering whether to revoke bail for an alleged breach of bail conditions, it should evaluate all the material in the light of the serious potential consequences to the defendant in the context of the presumption of innocence and form an honest and rational opinion on the balance of probabilities.

[2019] NICA 38
[2019] NICA 38
CA (NI) (Morgan LCJ, Stephens LJ, Keegan J)
5 July 2019

The ECHR art.2 duty to undertake an effective investigation had not applied to the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s overarching independent examination of possible collusion between state officials and Ulster Volunteer Force bombings and murders during the Troubles, given the lapse of time between the crimes and the entry into force of the ECHR. However, a victim’s brother had had a procedural legitimate expectation that the investigation would be carried out.

[2019] NICA 37
[2019] NICA 37
CA (NI) (Morgan LCJ, Stephens LJ, Maguire J)
27 June 2019

Panels of the Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland had the power to call a witness to give oral evidence where the failure to do so might cause a substantial injustice or a fundamental procedural unfairness. As recognised in K’s Application for Judicial Review, Re [2017] NIQB 34, the Parole Commissioners’ Rules (Northern Ireland) 2009 r.3 gave the panels a wide power to regulate their own procedure, and although they were not provided with an express power to call witnesses, they were not prohibited from doing so.

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