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Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2015

Prosecutorial Fines

14.Part 3 of the Act introduces new arrangements in the form of a prosecutorial fine that will enable certain offences to be dealt with proportionately, and at an early stage, without recourse to court prosecution, thereby enabling prosecutorial resources to be better directed to prosecuting more serious offending, and dispensing with the requirement of an investigating officer appearing in court.

15.The prosecutorial fine will create new powers to enable public prosecutors to offer lower level offenders a financial penalty, up to a maximum of £200 (the equivalent of a level 1 court fine) as an alternative to prosecution of the case at court. It is proposed also that the prosecutor should have a power to attach a financial compensation order to the proposed penalty in cases of criminal damage only. Recipients of a prosecutorial fine will avoid a formal criminal record if the disposal is accepted and paid, although the criminal justice system will retain a record of such disposals to inform decisions on any future offending by the recipients of prosecutorial fines.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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