Review an opportunity to improve outcomes for victims, says Blair

There is now an opportunity to improve the outcome for victims of hate crime here, Alliance MLA John Blair has said, after a review into legislation made a series of recommendations.

The review, carried out by Judge Desmond Marrinan, made 34 recommendations, including the definition of a hate crime being expanded to include gender and age offences, and a focus on social media. Mr Blair, who met with Judge Marrinan during the consultation, said it was a chance to tackle the “grim realities” of hate crime.

“This report makes a series of excellent suggestions, and I am pleased to hear Justice Minister Naomi Long say she will take them on board and consider them,” he said.

“Good work has already been done to improve outcomes for victims in the justice system but the implementation of these recommendations are an opportunity to improve even more, while tackling the systemic weaknesses we have seen.

“It is important to recognise the impact of hate crime – sadly, the likes of sectarian, racial and homophobic-motivated crimes remain grim realities. While much has been done to tackle these and other hate crimes, there is always a need to continue fighting against them and those who carry them out. I hope this review is another step towards doing that, so those who are most important in this entire process – the victims – get the justice they deserve.”