New clause 5 - Equality Duty

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:00 am ar 14 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 10:00, 14 Chwefror 2002

I have been impressed by the legal arguments put during the past three weeks by the hon. Lady and the Minister, who are professionals in that field. However, this is one argument by which I am not terribly impressed because, at the end of it all, the hypothesis is facile. It is facile to argue that, under section 75, the DPP would somehow or other find himself required to ensure that an equal number of men and women were prosecuted, or that he would

have to prosecute a certain percentage of people from ethnic groups as opposed to people who have always lived in Northern Ireland.

We could take the hypothesis to an extreme and ask how many Catholics were prosecuted last year, as opposed to Protestants. What is the percentage? How many nationalists were prosecuted during the past two years as opposed to Unionists? The argument is moot, but it is facile because the duty in section 75 would inform the DPP's decisions, but not in a way that would demerit them.