DUP Lagan Valley MLA and Chair of the Justice Committee Paul Givan has welcomed the commitment by the Justice Minister to make an urgent oral statement to the Assembly on Monday in relation to the decision to set aside multiple convictions for sexual offences in Northern Ireland.
Responding to the announcement, which comes in response to a formal request agreed by the Committee yesterday, Mr Givan said:
“I am pleased that the Minister has agreed to make a public statement on these serious issues in timely and public fashion.
The decision to set aside these convictions has been hugely damaging for public confidence. More personally it has left seventeen local victims and their loved ones needlessly and wrongly retraumatised.
It is therefore critical that the Minister and her officials take responsibility and are held fully accountable for this issue. There needs to be a complete investigation into what went wrong, who was responsible and clear action taken to ensure such a situation is not repeated.
This decision, regardless of the circumstances, represents a backward step as we seek to promote a more a victim-centred approach to our criminal justice system. Victims past, present and in the future deserve better. The Minister is right to prioritise these issues and we look forward to hearing what she has to say.”