Today NIO Minister David Hanson is supposed to be publishing the final version of the guidelines for CRJ schemes – original draft guidelines here – and revealing how they will be expected to fit together with the rest of the criminal justice system, the BBC has been trailing what those guidelines will contain since Friday – their latest report is here. But the Irish Times’ Gerry Moriarty reports that he has been told[subs req] there will, in fact, be another 12 week consultation period on the [new? – Ed] guidelines in response to the sustained criticism, from many quarters, of what those guidelines are expected to say.. well, I guess we’ll know later.. Update Gerry Moriarty had it right, new draft protocols published[pdf file].. and a another 12 week consultation period.From the Irish Times:
The North’s criminal justice minister David Hanson was today due to publish his final proposals for CRJ schemes in the North based on what he had learned from a consultation programme that began last December.
However, sources said yesterday that such was the concern expressed that these schemes could lead to a form of “vigilantism” in republican and loyalist areas that Mr Hanson has decided to embark on another 12-week consultation period to try “to get the issue right”.
The main thrust of the opposition to his original proposals emanated from the SDLP, the Policing Board and the McCartney sisters, whose brother, Robert, was murdered outside Magennis’s bar close to the Short Strand in east Belfast at the end of January last year.
The McCartneys mounted a Justice for Robert campaign claiming that IRA members had intimidated witnesses from giving evidence that would have convicted his killers. They also warned that the CRJ schemes as originally proposed by Mr Hanson could lead to republican paramilitary policing in republican areas. They said that people associated with their brother’s murder were involved in CRJ schemes.
Meanwhile, SDLP leader Mark Durkan and senior members, including policing spokesman Alex Attwood, led a party campaign against the consultation proposals. They ignored Sinn Féin allegations that the SDLP was pursuing a “securocrat agenda”.
Official sources admitted that such was the force of the opposition to the proposals that Mr Hanson felt he had no option but to alter his original recommendations and seek further public ideas on how CRJ schemes should operate.