Clause 53 - Aims of youth justice system

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 5:00 pm ar 7 Chwefror 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lembit Öpik Lembit Öpik Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Sir Drefaldwyn 5:00, 7 Chwefror 2002

I thank the Committee in advance for its forbearance; my contribution was slightly longer than I would normally be entitled to make. I want to establish the principles, because they are of great importance to organisations that seek to support, protect and nurture children, including those who, in a legal sense, end up going off the rails.

I shall correct the hon. Member for Isle of Wight. He said that I had suggested that the paramount aim was to do all those nice things for children. Amendment No. 278 states:

The principal aim of the youth justice system in Northern Ireland is to prevent offending by children and to promote the child's reintegration and the child assuming a constructive role in society.

It makes an extremely clear statement. Amendment No. 223 refers to

the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.

The hon. Gentleman was right about that, but if he had waited a moment I would have gone on to say that I and my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle believe that amendment No. 278 is better constructed than ours.

I do not want to quibble about the wording of amendment No. 223. I am using it as a vehicle to provide the Committee with the opportunity to put on record the core elements of the conventions that we believe are currently not sufficiently represented in the Bill.