Northern Ireland’s Non-Jury Trials

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, is due to decide whether to extend the non-jury trial provisions of the Justice and Security (NI) Act 2007 – that ‘sunset clause’ is about to come into effect. And, on Hearts and Minds last night, Julia Paul noted that there have been 38 such non-jury trials, “cases in which paramilitary and community-based pressures continue to be a factor”, since the legislation came into effect in July 2007.

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  • Non Jury trials and Diplock Courts were brought in because of likely intimidation of jurors and the difficulty of getting a mix of jurors from both communities to work together.
    Today, that risk is diminished but may still be circumstances left where there is unlikely to be a fair trial without a Diplock Court.

    I think the power should remain but with the proviso that jury trials should be used as much as possible unless there is a risk that there will not be a fiar trial.

    It is noted that equivalent legislation and powers remain in the Republic of Ireland
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Criminal_Court

  • joeCanuck

    I agree with Seymour. Keep them but use them sparingly.

  • joeCanuck

    USA,
    I accept your sincerity but that’s just woolly thinking in some instances.
    If people are being uncooperative with government by intimidating witnesses, you think the law against doing that should be reviewed.

  • It matters not the excuses used to try and justify Diplock Courts………………..

    As one who endured one such trial, they are a joke and another way of repressing Irish citizens while British occupation continues in part of this country.

    Bottom line, it’s part and parcel of being England’s last colony!The continuation of this legislation only proves to people like me that the British project in Ireland has failed.

  • joeCanuck

    AR,
    If you got a raw deal, I sympathize.
    But the Republic has similar legislation. In fact, that well known South Armagh bachelor will be soon facing their Special Criminal Court. There won’t be a juror in sight.

  • Paul McMahon

    “There is unlikely to be a fair trial without a Diplock Court”

    Surely an oxymoron?

    Kitty and Snowdrop through the looking glass?

  • Reader

    USA: They adopt non jury courts when they can no longer ensure convictions.
    You can get a conviction if you get a jury from the right place.
    And on the other hand, do you think loyalists should have Diplock trials?

  • NCM

    Hmmm…. doesn’t sound like freedom to me.