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Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002

Section 60: Youth conference orders

127.Where a recommendation made to a court by a youth conference includes a youth conference plan (whether alone or in combination with a recommendation that a custodial sentence be imposed) the court may make a youth conference order. This is a new type of sentence for the court. The youth conference order can be in identical terms to the youth conference plan or the court can vary that plan (and include within it anything from the range of options open to the youth conference) (new Article 36J(2)). In either case the child must consent to the youth conference order (new Article 36J(5)) and, where the court varies the youth conference plan, it must consult the youth conference co-ordinator (new Article 36J(6)). A youth conference order cannot be combined with any other court sentence unless the youth conference recommended it be combined with a custodial sentence, in which case the court may also impose any custodial sentence which it could have imposed for the offence (new Article 36J(8) and (9)). The youth conference is not empowered to recommend to the court any specific period of custody or type of custodial sentence. However, the child must agree to any custodial sentence imposed.

128.Before making such an order, the court must state in open court that it is of the opinion that the offence was serious enough to warrant it and why it is of that opinion (see new Article 36J(3) and (4) and new Article 36K(1)).

129.Provision for dealing with breach of a youth conference order and for revocation and amendment of such an order is made by new Schedule 1A of the 1998 Order (added by section 62 and Schedule 10).

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