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Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002

Sections 79-81: Court security and court security officers

156.Section 79(1) imposes a duty on the Northern Ireland Court Service to take all reasonable steps to provide security at court-houses. Subsections (2) and (3) provide that court security officers will be employed at each courthouse. These officers may be either members of the Court Service’s own staff designated as such, or employees of other organisations with which the Court Service has entered into arrangements for the provision of court security officers under section 69 of the Judicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978. Section 80 sets out the powers and duties of court security officers. Section 81 creates two new offences: first, an offence of assaulting a court security officer in the execution of his duty, which is punishable by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or 6 months imprisonment or both, and secondly, an offence of resisting or intentionally obstructing a court security officer, which is punishable by a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale. The present maximum fine on those scales is £5,000 and £1,000 respectively.

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