Lord Gillen releases his preliminary report on sexual offences in Northern Ireland

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    Aisling Heath
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    In April 2018, The Criminal Justice Board has commissioned a review of the law and procedure in prosecutions of serious sexual offences in Northern Ireland. Lord Justice John Gillen undertook the review and consulted with many legal experts across the globe including the researches at the GHJRU  – Prof. Lillian Artz and Dr Aisling Heath.

    There are more than 200 recommendations in Sir John Gillen’s preliminary report.

    Here are the eight key recommendations:

      

    • Public access to trials involving serious sexual offences to be confined to close family members of complainant and the defendant.
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    • Cross-examination of complainants to be pre-recorded and away from court – initially for vulnerable people but eventually extended to all complainants in serious sexual offences;
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    • Measures to combat rape myths and stereotypes, like suggestions that victims provoke rape by the way they dress or act;
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    • More robust attitude by judges to prevent improper cross-examination about previous sexual history;
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    • The accused will be anonymous until they are charged, but from that point they will be identified;
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    • Accused will have right to apply for a judge-alone trial without a jury – this would only be granted in “rare circumstances”;
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    • New legislation to manage dangers created by social media;
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    • Steps to combat excessive delay in the judicial system.

    Red the full reports on the resources page of this website. Search for ‘Lord Gillen’.

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