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Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

Section 37: Investigations into deaths in custody

This Section provides that the Ombudsman must investigate the death of any person at a prison or in the custody of a prison officer outside a prison, and may also investigate a death if it appears to be linked to events which occurred while the deceased was being held at a prison or in such custody (Section 37(1)). The Section requires the Ombudsman to establish the circumstances of the death and address any concerns of the family of the deceased, as well as determining any changes which may mitigate the risk of any death in similar circumstances in future (Section 37(2)). The Ombudsman will determine the scope of the investigation (Section 37(3)) and may defer and reopen it according to the same criteria in Section 35 above (Section 37(4) and (5)).

The Ombudsman shall draw to the attention of the police any matter relevant to any criminal investigation into the death and shall draw to the attention of any person or body any matter which calls for action to be taken by that body or person (Section 37(6)).

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