Sinn Féin MLA Linda Dillon has welcomed the Department of Justice’s upcoming legislation and in particular the Criminal Justice (Committal Reform) Bill which will hugely improve support for victims of crime.
The party’s Justice Spokesperson said:
“The Committal Reform Bill, which passed its second stage in November last year, was a key recommendation of the Gillen Review on serious sex offence cases and it will make a real difference in the lives of victims and witnesses going through court proceedings.
“At present victims and witnesses can be called to give oral evidence, including cross-examination, at committal proceedings before then having to give further oral evidence again at trial which brings a huge risk of re-traumatisation.
“This Bill firstly would remove the option of victims and witnesses giving oral evidence in advance of the trial.
“Secondly, it will allow certain cases to be directly committed to the Crown Court without the need for the traditional committal process which would significantly speed up the time taken for a case to progress.
“As my party’s Justice Spokesperson and as the Deputy Chair of the Justice Committee I will do all that I can to support victims of crime and to ensure that justice is delivered fairly and quickly.
“This legislation will mark a huge improvement in how we support victims and I look forward to working on it in the coming months.”