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Ford acts on Unduly Lenient Sentences

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Justice Minister David Ford has announced unduly lenient sentences in relation to indecent images of children, modern slavery and serious assault will be among offences which can now be referred to the Court of Appeal.

Animal cruelty and unauthorised disposal of waste are also among offences under new legislation which comes into effect on 1 April 2016 which allows the Director of Public Prosecutions to refer a sentence to the Court of Appeal where it appears that the sentence passed is unduly lenient.

David Ford said: “Following a review of the law on Unduly Lenient Sentences, I have decided to increase the number of offences which can be referred where it appears that the sentence passed is unduly lenient.

“I have listened to victims, elected representatives and the wider community and recognise that many of these offences are areas of public concern. The independence of the sentencing process is fundamentally important but equally I recognise there should be avenues to challenge sentences for serious offences that are considered unduly lenient.

“By including these offences in the Unduly Lenient Sentences Scheme it will send an important message that these crimes will not be tolerated and will help to safeguard continued public confidence in the justice system.”

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