2007

Kit Chivers, Brendan McGuigan and Tom McGonigle gave evidence to the Ad Hoc Committee on the draft Criminal Justice Order, which will end automatic 50% remission and introduce new indeterminate and extended sentences for dangerous offenders.
Minister visits CJI | 10/12/2007

Kit Chivers extended a warm welcome to the Minister for the Courts in Northern Ireland, David Hanson MP when he visited CJI’s Belfast office for the first time since his appointment to the Ministry of Justice.

Photo shows (left to right) Brendan McGuigan, Deputy Chief Inspector CJI; Courts Minister, David Hanson MP;  Jacqui Durkin, Head of Court Operations, NICtS; Kit Chivers, Chief Inspector CJI; and David Lavery, Director of the Court Service in Northern Ireland.
Minister was joined by David Lavery, Director of the Court Service in Northern Ireland and Jacqui Durkin (Head of Court Operations, NICtS) for the meeting with CJI’s Chief Inspector and his deputy, Brendan McGuigan. 



Criminal Justice Minister Paul Goggins, MP was among the guests who attended Criminal Justice Inspection’s Christmas reception.  The Minister was joined at the lunchtime event by representatives from Northern Ireland’s criminal justice agencies and the voluntary and community sector.  During the reception CJI’s Chief Inspector Kit Chivers thanked those present for the help and assistance they had provided during the year.
Criminal Justice Inspection has presented its 2006-07 Annual Report and Accounts to Parliament following its approval by the Comptroller and Auditor General of the National Audit Office.  The report tracks the progress of Criminal Justice Inspection during the last financial year.
Criminal Justice Inspection has issued invitations to attend its 2008 Stakeholder Conference at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast, on Thursday 17 January.  The one-day conference will provide an opportunity for CJI to consult its stakeholders on its work over the past year and its proposals for 2008-09.  The conference will have a special focus on the prospects for devolution of policing and criminal justice in Northern Ireland.  It will also provide an opportunity to learn from the experience of others and provide a forum for discussion on the benefits and challenges that devolution will present.  To keep informed on the 2008 Stakeholder Conference, please visit our Stakeholder Conference webpage by clicking on the link.
Kit Chivers gave evidence to the Consultative Group on the Past chaired by Lord Eames and Denis Bradley
A follow-up report on the management of sex offenders in Northern Ireland has been published by Criminal Justice Inspection.  The report found that progress had been made by the various agencies involved in managing the risk posed by sex offenders since its last report was published in December 2006.  This report concludes the work undertaken by the Inspectorate following the murder of Strabane pensioner Attracta Harron.
CJI's new remit | 07/11/2007
Section 45 of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 has come into effect.  This provision brings the Northern Ireland Court Service (NICts), the Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission and the Life Sentence Review Commissioners within CJI’s remit.  CJI’s Chief Inspector Kit Chivers welcomed the development adding that the Inspectorate looked forward to working with the organisations in the future.

Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland has today published its inspection report on Community Restorative Justice Ireland.

Danielle Reaney joins CJI as an Inspection Support Officer.
Criminal Justice Inspection has published a report on enforcement within the Department of the Environment and its regulatory agencies – the Driver and Vehicle Agency; the Environment and Heritage Service and the Planning Service.  The report has called on the DoE to adopt a more direct, determined approach to enforcement as part of its regulatory responsibilities and to get touch with hard core offenders involved in environmental and vehicle-related crime.  The report makes 15 recommendations for improvement.
A follow-up review of the Causeway IT system has been published by Criminal Justice Inspection.  Causeway is a multi-million pound IT project aimed at improving the exchange of information between criminal justice agencies in Northern Ireland.  The review has found two thirds of the recommendations made in CJI’s original inspection report (published in July 2007) have been achieved and that corporate governance arrangements have been improved.
CJI has praised the work Office of the Police Ombudsman in its follow-up inspection review.  The review showed the Office of the Police Ombudsman had implemented the majority of 13 major and 14 minor recommendations made by Inspectors in their original inspection report published in December 2005
Kit Chivers and Brendan McGuigan attended the launch of a five-year strategy aimed at improving the services and level of support provided to victims and witnesses of crime in Northern Ireland.  The strategy, which was developed by a multi-agency group the Victims, Vulnerable or Intimidated Witnesses Steering Group (VVIW), Victim Support NI and the NSPCC, was unveiled in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast by the Criminal Justice Minister Paul Goggins, MP.  The strategy for 2007-12 contains many of the recommendations made by CJI in its 2005 inspection report on Victims and Witnesses.  The launch was also attended by the Lord Chief Justice, the Rt. Hon Sir Brian Kerr, Susan Reid, Chief Executive of Victim Support NI and Martin Crummey, Director, NSPCC Northern Ireland.  A copy of Kit Chivers’ speech can be viewed by clicking here.  Electronic copies of the strategy document are available on the websites of the NIO and the CJSNI website as well as from the websites of other partner organisations.
Assistant Inspector Ian Craig presented a paper on Transitive Discrimination at the British Criminology Society Conference in London.  Ian also chaired a discussion session during the three-day conference.
CJI’s Paul Mageean gave a briefing on International Human Rights Standards to the Bill of Rights Forum’s Working Part on Criminal Justice and Victims at the Interpoint Centre in Belfast.
Paul Mageean gave an address on OPCAT at an event organised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties held in Law Society House in Dublin.
CJI recruitment | 17/08/2007
CJI has advertised to recruit a Business Support Officer and IT Systems Administrator to join its Business Support Team in Belfast.  Candidates can obtain further information on the selection criteria and the duties and responsibilities of both posts by contacting John McClenaghan at Grafton Recruitment on 028 90 895803 or via e-mail [email protected]

Criminal Justice Inspection has published two follow-up reviews on Forensic Science Northern Ireland and Scientific Support Services within the PSNI. Both reports examine progress on recommendations contained in the Inspectorate’s original reports which were published in 2005.  The acknowledge the progress which has been made by both organisations while highlighting areas where further improvements can be made.

Criminal Justice Inspection has made public the findings of its first inspection of the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland (PPS).  The report found that based on the extensive file sample examined by us the PPS was independent in its decision making, but it could do more to publicly reassure the community of this.  The report contains a number of recommendations and issues to address which Inspectors believe will further enhance the Service.  The inspection was carried out by Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) under the delegated authority of Kit Chivers, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.  Copies of the report can be downloaded from this website.
Northern Ireland Alternatives invited Kit Chivers to give a short speech to invited guests after the community-based restorative justice scheme (CBRJ) secured accreditation under the Government’s protocol for the operation of CBRJ schemes in Northern Ireland.  The event was hosted in the Long Gallery, Stormont by Dawn Purvis MLA and Fred Cobain MLA.  Other speakers who addressed the audience included Stephen Leach, NIO Criminal Justice Division, Raymond Kitson, Public Prosecution Service, Chief Inspector Nigel Grimshaw, PSNI, Koulla Yiasouma, Director of the Board of N I Alternatives.
Criminal Justice Inspection has published its inspection report on how complaints are handled within the criminal justice system.  The report has recommended the establishment of an independent complaints appeals body which would deal with complaints from all areas of the justice system except the PSNI.  The inspection was carried out with the assistance of office of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA).
Rachel Tupling joins CJI’s Inspection Team as an Inspector.
An inspection report on the Northern Ireland Resettlement Strategy has been published by Criminal Justice Inspection.  The report looked at the work that has been undertaken by the Prison Service, Probation Service and other statutory and voluntary agencies since the strategy was launched in 2004.  The inspection found good work is being done to prepare prisoners for settling back into the community on their release from prison and reduce their likelihood of re-offending, but it has urged the Prison Service to strike a greater balance between security and resettlement work.
The Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 has received Royal Assent. CJI’s inspection remit under the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 has been extended to include the Northern Ireland Courts Service, Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission and Life Sentence Review Commissioners.  It will consult and work with the Lord Chancellor as it undertakes inspection work involving the Courts Service and Legal Services Commission, but will not be inspect people making or exercising judicial decisions.   CJI has also been given statutory powers under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 in relation to its inspection of community based restorative justice (CBRJ) schemes.  Under the legislation, CBRJ schemes seeking accreditation under the Government Protocol for Community Based Restorative Justice Schemes, must co-operate with the Chief Inspector and all CJI reports on community based restorative justice schemes must be laid before Parliament.
Criminal Justice Inspection has published its follow-up review of the Compensation Agency.  The review examined progress made by the organisation against 10 recommendations made in the Inspectorate’s initial inspection report published 18 months ago.  The review has shown half of the recommendations have already been achieved and the Compensation Agency is committed to implementing the outstanding recommendations.  Copies of the review and the original inspection report can be downloaded from this website.

An inspection report on Human Resource Management in the PSNI which CJI made a contribution to has been published today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).  Copies of the report can be downloaded from the HMIC website http://inspectorates.homeoffice.gov.uk/hmic/

 

Further information on the findings of the inspection can be obtained from HMIC North of England Region on (01924) 237700.

Kit Chivers spoke of the challenges to devolution presented by governance and accountability, resources and competing demands and need to change the culture of the criminal justice system when he addressed stakeholders attending the annual Criminal Justice System Northern Ireland conference at the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast. Other speakers who addressed the conference included Criminal Justice Minister Maria Eagle, the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, PSNI Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde and Olwen Lyner of NIACRO.  Representatives of the DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP, UUP, Alliance Party, and PUP who also attended the one-day event, gave their views on both the challenges presented by devolution and the possible devolution of policing and justice powers next year.
Northern Ireland’s Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice has welcomed the commitment given by the Attorney General to reduce the average time it takes for cases to be brought before the courts over the next three years.  Kit Chivers said he welcomed the announcement made by Lord Goldsmith at the Criminal Justice System Northern Ireland Conference in Belfast. The new targets mean for example the time for Crown Court cases to move from charge stage to when a decision is taken to prosecute will drop by 30% from 201 days in 2006 to 140 days by 2010/11.
HH Judge Dermot Kinlen and Governor Jim Woods from the Republic of Ireland’s Inspectorate of Prisons and Places of Detention met with Kit Chivers and Tom McGonigle at CJI’s Belfast headquarters. During the meeting they discussed their respective methods of working.  The Inspectorate of Prisons and Places of Detention became statutory with effect from 1 May 2007.
Kit Chivers gave a presentation to participants on the 2007 Common Purpose Crime Challenge Day who were examining the issue of how to re-integrated sex offenders into the community.  As part of the event, participants visited Maghaberry Prison and met with stakeholders involved in the assessment and management of sex offenders.  The challenge day concluded with a panel discussion involving the Chief Inspector and Tom McGonigle from CJI as well as William McCauley, Strategy and Policy Co-ordinator with the Northern Ireland Sex Offenders Management Committee and Andrew Rooke, Assistant Director with the Probation Board for Northern Ireland.
 
The Government agreed to accept in principle an amendment suggested by Lord Trimble, giving CJI statutory powers to inspect community-based restorative justice schemes.  The Commons agreed to a re-drafting of Lord Trimble's amendment, and it is now for the Lords to consider whether they can accept the re-draft, which forms part of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill.
Kit Chivers gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee hearing on Prisons in Northern Ireland.  He was joined for the session by Anne Owers, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons in England and Wales
CJI has published its initial inspection of four community-based restorative justice schemes supervised by Northern Ireland Alternatives.  The Inspectorate was asked to inspect the schemes by Criminal Justice Minister David Hanson, MP.  The report assessed whether or not the schemes had the potential to meet the standard required for accreditation under the Government Protocol.  The report has been presented to the Minister for his consideration.

Paul Mageean has co-authored an essay examining Article Two of the European Convention of Human Rights.  The essay is included in a new book entitled Judges, Transition and Human Rights (OUP, 2007) edited by Professors John Morison, Kieran McEvoy and Gordon Anthony from the School of Law at Queen’s University, Belfast.
 

The book was published in memory of Prof. Stephen Livingstone, a former Professor of Law at QUB who died in 2004. Paul was asked to contribute to the book because of his personal understanding of Article Two and the cases he was involved in during his time with the Committee on the Administration of Justice.

CJI’s Paul Mageean represented the Inspectorate at a two-day conference on the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention Against Torture.  The international conference hosted by the University of Bristol School of Law, was attended by representatives of organisations from around the world which may be designated as National Preventative Mechanisms (NPMs) to ensure torture or ill-treatment does not occur in places of detention in their jurisdiction.
CJI has published its Business Plan for 2007-2008 which includes a timetable for inspections due to be carried out in the current financial year.  It also contains a list of the Action Plan Reviews the Inspectorate will conduct during the next 12 months.
Brendan McGuigan gave a presentation on the findings of CJI’s report on the management of Hate Crime at a seminar in Dublin organised to coincide with the Intercultural and Anti Racism Week in Ireland. Delegates attending the seminar were keen to learn how race crimes were dealt with by the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland and how existing processes could be made more effective.
Chief Inspectors from the fields of Criminal Justice, Education, Health and Social Services across the UK met in Belfast for a joint meeting hosted by Kit Chivers.  The meeting was chaired by Marion Matchett, Chief Inspector of Education and Training and attended by guest speaker Sir George Bain, author of the recent report on education reform in Northern Ireland.  During the one-day meeting at the W5 complex at the Odyssey, delegates considered the issue of inspectorate reform.  They also discussed the occupational standards for inspection recently prepared by the Sector Skills council ‘Skills for Justice.’  The Chief Inspectors also examined the dilemmas they face in striking a balance between ‘broad and shallow’ inspection and ‘deep and narrow’ inspection.  As a result of the meeting, a commitment was given for the various inspectorates to work collectively to establish their duties and responsibilities.
CJI’s Deputy Chief Inspector Brendan McGuigan traveled to Brussels to give a presentation to 20 members of EUJUST LEX – the European Union Integrated Rule of Law Mission for Iraq.  The EU Mission is designed to address the urgent needs of the Iraqi criminal justice system and to strengthen the rule of law and promote a culture of respect for human rights in Iraq.  Members of the mission – which include judges, police officers and prison governors from member states within the EU -- believe there needs to be a strategic plan for the criminal justice system in Iraq.  They were very interested in the Criminal Justice Review and the Criminal Justice Implementation Plan which is transforming the system in Northern Ireland.  The Mission is led by former PSNI/RUC Assistant Chief Constable Stephen White.
Kit Chivers gave a presentation on the findings of CJI's recent inspection on how hate crime is managed by the criminal justice system to the All-Party Working Group on black and ethnic minority people at Belfast City Hall.  The group is made up of MLAs of all political parties and representatives of voluntary organisations from across Northern Ireland.
CJI  has welcomed the Government’s publication of its consultation paper on a new strategy for Victims and Witnesses, in response to CJI’s report of July 2005.  The paper can be viewed on the Criminal Justice System website www.cjsni.gov.uk or on the NIO website -- www.nio.gov.uk.

Criminal Justice Inspection’s Annual Stakeholder Conference is held at the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick.

The event which brings together representatives of Northern Ireland’s Criminal Justice system and voluntary and community groups who work within the sector this year is looking at the issue of Justice in a Changing Community.  Among the speakers joining  Kit Chivers, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland in addressing delegates at the one-day conference are Paul Goggins MP, Minister for Security, Policing and Prisons, Sir Hugh Orde, Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Kathleen O’Toole, Chief Inspector of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate.  They will also be addressed by Professor Kieran McEvoy, Queen’s University, Belfast, Brendan McAllister, Director of Mediation Northern Ireland, Patrick Yu from the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) and James Knox from the Coalition on Sexual Orientation (COSO).  During the course of the day, CJI Inspectors will consult Stakeholders on the proposed Inspection Programme for 2007-08.

A thematic inspection on how the Criminal Justice system in Northern Ireland manages hate crime has been published by Criminal Justice Inspection.  The report recommends a more consistent, integrated and systematic approach to the reporting, recording, investigation and prosecution of these offences would improve the existing system.  It also recognises the commendable commitment displayed by the various criminal justice agencies to tackling the issue.