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Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002

New Orders

Section 54: Reparation orders

99.This section amends the 1998 Order by adding to that Order a number of Articles dealing with reparation orders.

100.A reparation order is a new sentence available to courts dealing with child offenders in Northern Ireland. The reparation ordered to be made by the child would be either to the victim of the offence or some other person affected by it or to the community at large. It would be for the court to decide to whom the reparation is to be made and what form it should take in any individual case. Forms of reparation will be as varied as the offences in respect of which they are imposed, but reparation could take the form of repairing property in cases of property damage or some worthwhile community work. A reparation order must not require the offender to carryout activities for more than 24 hours and the reparation must be made within 6 months of the order being made (new Article 36C(1)(a) and (3)(b)).

101.The court cannot make a reparation order unless the offender and, where reparation is to be made to a person, that person consent (new Articles 36B(1) and 36C(1)(b)). The effect of new Article 36B(2) and new Article 36J(8) (see section 60) is that a reparation order may only be combined with an attendance centre order, probation order or fine. By virtue of new Article 36A(4) and (5), before making a reparation order, the court must obtain a report indicating the type of activity suitable for the offender and the attitude of the victim or victims of the offence to the requirements proposed to be included in the order. The court must also obtain a pre-sentence report before imposing a reparation order, unless it considers it unnecessary in the circumstances (see the amendment to Article 9(3) of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 (S.I. 1996/3160 (NI 24)) (the “1996 Order”), made by paragraph 56 of Schedule 12).

102.Reparation orders are a “community sentence” within the meaning of Article 2(2) of the 1996 Order (by virtue of the amendment made to that Order by paragraph 55(2) of Schedule 12). New Article 36B(4) requires that the court, before making a reparation order, must state in open court that it is of the opinion that Article 8(1) of the 1996 Order applies and why it is of that opinion. This means that the court must be satisfied that the offence, or the combination of the offence and one or more other offences associated with it, was serious enough to warrant a reparation order. The concept of offences associated with other offences is defined in Article 2(7) of the 1996 Order(4). Provision for dealing with breach of a reparation order and for the revocation or amendment of an order is made in Schedule 10 (which adds a new Schedule 1A to the 1998 Order). Under Article 36C(5) and (6) the Secretary of State may make rules regulating the making of reparation by persons subject to reparation orders. These may regulate the functions of responsible officers (defined in new Article 36D(2)) and limit the number of hours of making reparation on any one day as well as setting the requirement for keeping records of such hours.

Section 55: Community responsibility orders

103.This section amends the 1998 Order to provide for a further additional sentencing option for the courts in relation to children.

104.Where a child is found guilty of an offence, other than an offence the sentence for which the sentence is fixed by law as imprisonment for life, the court may make a community responsibility order. Such an order will have two distinct components. The first part will require the offender to attend a specific place for a few hours at a time where they will receive “relevant instruction in citizenship” (new Article 36E(2)(a)). This part must be at least one-half of the total number of hours specified in the order (new Article 36E(5)). “Relevant instruction in citizenship” is defined in new Article 36E(3) and covers personal and social responsibility, the impact of crime on victims and any factors in the offender’s life that may be linked to crime. The second part of the order will require the offender to carry out, for a specified number of hours, such practical activities as the responsible officer (defined in new Article 36E(4)) considers appropriate in the light of the instruction given to the offender. The aggregate number of hours specified in the order must be not less than 20 and not more than 40 (new Article 36E(6)). Both aspects of the order must be completed within 6 months of the order being made (new Article 36G(4)). A community responsibility order can only be made with the offender’s consent (new Article 36F(1)).

105.Community responsibility orders are community sentences within the meaning of Article 2(2) of the 1996 Order (by virtue of the amendment to that Order made by paragraph 55(2) of Schedule 12). By virtue of Article 9(3) of the 1996 Order (as amended by paragraph 56 of Schedule 12) the court must obtain a pre-sentence report before making a community responsibility order, unless it considers it unnecessary to do so in the circumstances. New Article 36F(4) requires the court, before making a community responsibility order, to state in open court that it is of the opinion that Article 8(1) of the 1996 Order applies and why it is of that opinion. This means that the court must be satisfied that the offence, or the combination of the offence and one or more other offences associated with it, was serious enough to warrant a community responsibility order. The concept of offences associated with other offences is defined in Article 2(7) of the 1996 Order(5).

106.Provision for dealing with breach of a community responsibility order and for the revocation or amendment of an order is made in Schedule 10 (which adds a new Schedule 1A to the 1998 Order). Article 36H allows the Secretary of State to make rules for regulating both the attendance of offenders subject to community responsibility orders and the functions of responsible officers (defined in Article 36E(4)).

Section 56: Custody care orders

107.This section creates a new form of custodial sentence for child offenders, to be known as a custody care order. It does this by adding a number of Articles to the 1998 Order.

108.A custody care order may only be imposed on a child who has attained the age of 10 but is not yet 14 and who has been found guilty of an offence for which the court could (if the offence had been committed by an adult) sentence him to a period of imprisonment (new Article 44A(1)). At present, if a court wished to impose a custodial sentence on such a child, it would have to make a juvenile justice centre order (under Article 39 of the 1998 Order). A child in respect of whom a custody care order is made would be held in secure accommodation by an “appropriate authority” for a specified period (rather than being held in a juvenile justice centre), and thereafter be under supervision for a further period (new Article 44A(2)). The period of time for which a child would be held in secure accommodation is to be one half of the total period of the order unless discharged sooner with the consent of the Secretary of State (new Article 44A(6)). The total period of the order is to be 6 months unless the court specifies a longer period, which cannot be more than 2 years (new Article 44A(3)). An “appropriate authority”, in relation to a child, is (by virtue of Article 2(2) of the 1998 Order) the Health and Social Services Board or Trust within whose area the child is ordinarily resident or, if that is not known, the Board or Trust within whose area the child is. “Secure accommodation” is also defined in Article 2(2) of the 1998 Order (as amended by paragraph 67(7) of Schedule 12).

109.New Article 44A(4) provides that a court must not make a custody care order unless, after taking into account the matters which it is required to by Article 37 of the 1996 Order, it has formed the opinion under Articles 19 and 20 of that Order that a custodial sentence would be justified for the offence. Article 37 provides that, when considering the seriousness of any offence, the court may take into account any previous convictions of the offender or any failure of his to respond to previous sentences. It also provides that, when considering the seriousness of any offence committed while the offender was on bail, the court must treat this as an aggravating factor (that is to say, something which makes the offence more serious). Thus a custody care order could not be imposed if the offence, taking into account these further matters, was not serious enough to warrant a custodial sentence.

110.New Article 44B sets out the legal regime which is to apply to a child held in secure accommodation pursuant to a custody care order. It does this by applying, and modifying where necessary, a number of provisions in the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 (S.I. 1995/755 (NI 2)) (the “1995 Order. Only those specified in Article 44B(3) The effect is that the regime which will apply is in a number of respects similar to that which would apply if the child were the subject of a care order within the meaning of Article 49 of the 1995 Order. Nonetheless, while in secure accommodation pursuant to a custody care order, a child is subject to a legal regime distinct from that which applies to a child under a care order. To help keep this distinction clear, new Article 44B(7) provides that any care order made in respect of a child has no effect while the child is held in secure accommodation pursuant to a custody care order. In the light of the custodial nature of this order, provision is made to deal with those children who escape from secure accommodation, and those who assist them or take them away without lawful authority (new Article 44C) and with the taking into custody by the police or other responsible person of the child (new Article 44D). These provisions are comparable to the provisions which apply in respect of a child in respect of whom a juvenile justice centre order is made (see Articles 54 and 42 of the 1998 Order, respectively).

111.A child in respect of whom a custody care order is made may attain the age of 14 before the period he is to serve in secure accommodation is completed. In the light of this, new Article 44A(8) gives the court, when making the order, a power to provide that such a child shall be detained in a juvenile justice centre for the whole or part of the period after he reaches 14.

112.The supervision element of a custody care order will be carried out by a probation officer or other person designated by the Secretary of State (new Article 44E(1)). The Secretary of State may make rules regulating this supervision (new Article 44E(4)). Article 44F provides that, in the event of a failure to comply with supervision requirements, a court may impose a fine, to be paid in normal circumstances by the parent or guardian of the child instead of the child, or a period of detention not exceeding 30 days (new Article 44F(3) and (4)). A child, parent or guardian has a right of appeal against an order made against him under Article 44F (new Article 44F(7) and paragraph 31 of Schedule 12).

113.Where a child in respect of whom a custody care order is in force is convicted by or before a court of another offence and given a custodial sentence, that court must revoke the custody care order and, in passing sentence for the new offence, take into account the length of time left to run on that order (new Article 44G(1)). If, in respect of the new offence, the court decides to make a further custody care order the effect of new Article 44G(2) is that the order may be of any period not exceeding 2 years and the period of secure accommodation can be whatever portion of the whole the court specifies. Similar provision is made where the court, in sentencing the child for the new offence, makes a juvenile justice centre order (i.e. where the child has reached 14 between the passing of the first custody care order and his conviction for the later offence) (new Article 44G(3)).

4

Applied by Article 2(5) of the 1998 Order, inserted by paragraph 67(9) of Schedule 12.

5

See footnote 4 above.

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