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Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2015

Prosecutorial Fine

Section 17: Prosecutorial fine: notice of offer

This section empowers a prosecutor to issue a notice offering an alleged offender over age 18 a prosecutorial fine for one or more summary offence(s) and specifies the information which the notice must contain.

The notice of offer will indicate that refusal of the offer may result in prosecution for the offence, and that acceptance of the offer discharges the alleged offender’s liability for that offence. The alleged offender is given 21 days to accept or reject the offer, and no further proceedings may be undertaken during this 21 day period. If the prosecutorial fine notice of offer is accepted, then a prosecutorial fine notice will be issued.

Section 18: Prosecutorial fine notice

This section is engaged if an offender accepts the offer of a prosecutorial fine.

On receipt of acceptance of a prosecutorial fine offer, a prosecutor must issue a prosecutorial fine notice to an alleged offender, containing details of the offence and how payment of the fine may be made. The section requires payment of the fine within 28 days of the date of issue of the notice, and requires the prosecutor to alert the fines clerk that a fine notice has been issued.

Section 19: Amount of prosecutorial fine

This section defines the amount of the prosecutorial fine as the total of the amount determined by the prosecutor plus a £10 offender levy. The section also provides that in the case of an offence of criminal damage the prosecutor may also order an amount of compensation in respect of damage caused to be paid to a victim. The section sets the maximum value of a prosecutorial fine at £200 (level 1 on the standard fine scale) and the maximum compensation at £5000 (the maximum compensation awardable in a Magistrate’s court).

Section 20: Restrictions on prosecutions

This section places restrictions on the issue of a prosecutorial fine. It prevents further action being taken against an alleged offender for the alleged offence within 21 days of the issue of a notice of offer. If the prosecutorial fine is paid before the end of the suspended enforcement period no proceedings may be brought for the offence.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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