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Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2015

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The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 (c. 28)

3.—(1) For the heading of section 7 substitute “Evidence and procedure in cases of death: Northern Ireland”.

(2) In section 7(5) after “section 5” insert “of causing or allowing a person’s death”.

(3) After section 7 insert—

7A.    Evidence and procedure in cases of serious physical harm: Northern Ireland

(1) Subsections (3) to (5) apply where a person (“the defendant”) is charged in the same proceedings with a relevant offence and with an offence under section 5 in respect of the same harm (“the section 5 offence”).

(2) In this section “relevant offence” means—

(a)an offence under section 18 or 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 (grievous bodily harm etc.);

(b)an offence under Article 3 of the Criminal Attempts and Conspiracy (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 of attempting to commit murder.

(3) Where by virtue of Article 4(4) of the Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 a court or jury is permitted, in relation to the section 5 offence, to draw such inferences as appear proper from the defendant’s failure to give evidence or refusal to answer a question, the court or jury may also draw such inferences in determining whether the defendant is guilty of a relevant offence, even if there would otherwise be no case for the defendant to answer in relation to that offence.

(4) Where a magistrates’ court is considering under Article 37 of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 whether to commit the defendant for trial for the relevant offence, if there is sufficient evidence to put the defendant on trial for the section 5 offence there is deemed to be sufficient evidence to put the defendant on trial for the relevant offence.

(5) The power of a judge of the Crown Court under section 2(3) of the Grand Jury (Abolition) Act (Northern Ireland) 1969 (entry of “No Bill”)is not to be exercised in relation to a relevant offence unless it is also exercised in relation to the section 5 offence.

(6) At the defendant’s trial the question whether there is a case for the defendant to answer on the charge of the relevant offence is not to be considered before the close of all the evidence (or, if at some earlier time the defendant ceases to be charged with the section 5 offence, before that earlier time)..

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