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Explanatory Memorandum to Criminal Justice (No 2) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004

Increase of penalties

Article 4 increases the maximum penalties for a series of offences – largely offences of violence but also including offences of fear and harassment. It also increases the maximum penalty for dangerous driving. The offences and penalties being provided by each individual paragraph are listed below.

Article 4(1) increases the maximum sentence of imprisonment on conviction on indictment for malicious wounding or grievous bodily harm from 5 years to 7 years.

Article 4(2)(a) Assault occasioning actual bodily harm – the maximum sentence of imprisonment on conviction on indictment to increase from 5 years to 7 years.

Article 4(2)(b) Common assault –when tried on indictment, a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment, an unlimited fine, or both.

Article 4(3) Criminal damage – the maximum sentence of imprisonment on conviction on indictment to increase from 10 years to 14 years imprisonment.

Article 4(4) Harassment – previously a summary offence, this offence to be alternatively tried on indictment with a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both.

Article 4(5) Putting in fear of violence – the maximum sentence of imprisonment on conviction on indictment to increase from 5 years to 7 years.

Article 4(7) Dangerous driving – the maximum sentence of imprisonment on conviction on indictment to increase from 2 years to 5 years.

Article 4(8) provides that none of the proposed penalties will apply to offences committed before the commencement of Article 4.

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