Department of Justice to consult on expansion of Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme

Northern Ireland’s Department of Justice has launched a consultation on extending the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme to money laundering, firearms and terrorist offences.

Under the ULS scheme, the Director of Public Prosecutions can, if he considers that a sentence passed in the Crown Court is unduly lenient, refer the case to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration.

The Department has since identified over 80 offences, linked to terrorism, organised crime and paramilitarism, that it believes should be added to the scheme.

Anyone found guilty of these types of crime in the Crown Court could then see their sentence increased if it is found to be unduly lenient.

The proposals were developed in response to one of the 43 recommendations in the Fresh Start Panel Report on the Disbandment of Paramilitary Groups, and a commitment to consult was included in the Action Plan agreed by the Executive to implement the recommendations.

The Department is seeking views on the proposals, in particular whether the offences listed in the paper properly reflect the type of criminality inflicted on communities by organised crime and paramilitary linked groups.

The consultation, available on the Department’s website, is open until 5pm on 2 October 2018.