Consultation on Diplock Courts

The NIO have published details of an 8 week consultation process on the ending of Diplock Trials in Northern Ireland( see below fold). In future, the preseumption will be that all cases will be trial by Jury, except in special circumstances, as outlined in the document.

Despite the many attempts of people to either hold on to the past, or plunge us back there, this is another step on the road to a normal society, and is a positive, forward development. Without the instruments of law and order, we have no hope and no future. It is well past time to stop pandering to dissident elements in our society and call a thug a thug.
For more than thirty years the Diplock Court system has helped to counter the risk of
perverse verdicts in trials for offences connected with the Troubles in Northern
Ireland. It has protected jurors from the risk of intimidation; ensured that those
charged with such offences receive fair trials; and ensured that justice is seen to be
carried out fairly and effectively. The system has become emblematic of the special
arrangements that have been necessary to deal with the threat of terrorism in
Northern Ireland.
Under the programme of security normalisation announced on 1 August 2005, the
legislation underpinning the Diplock system is due to be repealed on 31 July 2007.
The repeal of the Diplock system will be a significant step on the road to a
normalised Northern Ireland and the fact that we are able to move to that point is a
testament to the profound changes in the Northern Ireland security situation that
have occurred, not least those in the last year.
Although Northern Ireland is on the road to normalisation, we do not think the time is
right for Northern Ireland to operate without the fall-back of some special
arrangements for exceptional cases. Paramilitaries and former members of
paramilitaries still have a significant hold over the communities they live in and many
are heavily involved in criminality. This means that jurors could still be put at risk of
intimidation in some cases.
Government must protect the safety of all those who participate in the justice system.
The role of juror is an extremely important one and we must do all we can to protect
them from intimidation and ensure that the justice system can deliver fair and
effective trials.
We think the reforms proposed in this consultation paper represent progress towards
normalisation and strike the right balance of reducing the risks of intimidation of
jurors while ensuring that non-jury trials are available to deal with the remaining
number of exceptional cases that cannot be addressed any other way.

  • aquifer

    A key concept of Jury trials is a ‘trial by peers’. Who are the peers of members of armed conspiracies?

    Revolutionaries, Mafiosi, Soldiers, Policmen?

    If we want to involve the public in justic lets get smart about it. Put the verdicts and trial notes on the internet and then lets talk about it.

    PIRA’s and Unionist reactionaries’ campaigns have succeeded in dividing this society so that juries may be unreliable.

  • slug

    Aquifier – we must not let them win.

  • Jo

    Miss Fitz

    Two brains, same mind 🙂

  • when i read the republican/loyalist blog i always think of people in desperate need to travel the world or stop playing with their action men

  • martin

    when those who make the law, break the law then there is no law . diplock courts are as discredited to anyone who believes in justice as tony blairs promises. set up to ensure that only the enemy of the state got punished the friendly bad boys/girls ie ruc, udr uvf uda uff brits etc, all had nothing to fear from their courts and the same applies today to the lvf the verdict,s in their trials are beyond belief .the old saying is correct britania doesnt rule the waves ,she waives the rules

  • martin

    also ms fitz what do you call a thug in uniform, because my dear girl there are plenty of them out there,

  • harlequin

    If we needed an indication of why Diplock courts will continue to be needed in many circumstances, just read the lunatic ranting in posts 5&6.

    Or the earlier posts re: Thomas Devlin

    Or countless other depressing posts on this site that show how the other side is always wrong, the murders that one side committed are justified and the other side’s aren’t etc etc

  • JAUN

    in keeping with the spirt of the GFA are we to have 50/50 juries ? ;>

  • lib2016

    harlequin,

    “..the other side is always wrong”

    On the contrary the posts you attack are the ones requesting that law and order should be applied impartially for a change. Do you have some obection to a justice system which all sides could support?

  • Reader

    lib2016: Do you have some obection to a justice system which all sides could support?
    Who does? But do you have proposals that might work? I don’t fancy trials that could be prejudged by the composition of the jury vs. the defendant before the evidence is even heard. Could *you* support that?

  • willowfield

    martin

    diplock courts are as discredited to anyone who believes in justice as tony blairs promises.

    Blame the terrorists who intimidated jurors, thus making jury trials impossible.

    set up to ensure that only the enemy of the state got punished the friendly bad boys/girls ie ruc, udr uvf uda uff brits etc, all had nothing to fear from their courts and the same applies today to the lvf the verdict,s in their trials are beyond belief .the old saying is correct britania doesnt rule the waves ,she waives the rules

    More “loyalists” were convicted by Diplock courts than “republicans”. You couldn’t be more wrong!