Terrorist and paramilitary offences added to unduly lenient sentence scheme
People found guilty of crimes linked to terrorism, paramilitarism and organised crime groups could now see their sentences reconsidered under the unduly lenient sentence (ULS) scheme.
As of yesterday, almost 100 additional offences linked to terrorism, organised crime and paramilitarism are included in the scheme.
The changes follow a review and public consultation, commissioned by former Justice Minister Claire Sugden, which ended in October 2018.
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.
Peter May, permanent secretary for the Department of Justice, said: “The addition of these offences to the unduly lenient scheme contributes to our commitment within the Executive Action Plan to Tackle Paramilitary Activity, Criminality and Organised Crime and seeks to build confidence in the justice system.
“People convicted for these offences could see their sentences reconsidered by the Court of Appeal if the Director of Public Prosecutions thinks they are unduly lenient.”
Under the ULS scheme, the Director of Public Prosecutions can, if they consider that a sentence passed in the Crown Court is unduly lenient, refer the case to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration. Anyone can ask the DPP to consider a sentence handed down in the Crown Court.