Clause 38 - Code for Prosecutors

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 6:22 pm ar 5 Chwefror 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Seamus Mallon Mr Seamus Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party, Newry and Armagh 6:22, 5 Chwefror 2002

I am sorry if I was out of order, Mr. Pike. The DPP would be required by statute to publish codes of practice and ethics, the latter being based in part on the standards set out in the United Nations guidelines. The new Northern Ireland Policing Board, which has various types of representation, is drawing up codes of practice in terms of its remit, which are essential given the importance of the DPP's position.

The United Nations guidelines on the role of prosecutors are especially relevant. In line with the review group's recommendation, it is important to place a duty on the DPP to have regard to the guidelines in drawing up codes for the prosecution service. The first part consultation with the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister is an attempt to ensure cross-community support for the code of ethics that I hope will be proposed by the DPP. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission will ensure conformity with human rights and standards. There are further implications because the Equality Commission and the Human Rights Commission might include in that consultation non-governmental organisations and agencies. Enormous strength could derive from this if it is done well and handled properly.

I will not die at the ditch over the wording of the two amendments because I recognise that there are difficulties. They could be tidied up, but I want to put them on the record. I strongly urge the Minister to examine how the principles underlying them may best be applied. If he can give me such an assurance, I shall not press the amendment, but I shall wait for inspiration from him or hope that somehow I am able to raise that inspiration at a later stage.