Alliance Party Councillor, Tom Ekin, has today called for an immediate review of the terms of sentencing for those convicted of riotous behaviour, and said that the gap between a four-month sentence for the offence in Northern Ireland, versus a four-year term in Great Britain, must be closed.
Cllr Ekin said:
“Given the work that the police have been doing to bring to the courts those who have engaged in some of the worst riots we have seen in many years, we need to be confident that the judicial system is equipped to sentence them appropriately. The sentencing gap that exists for riotous behaviour is totally intolerable and must be closed. In Great Britain, the custodial term is four years; in Northern Ireland, a ridiculous four months – hardly a disincentive to those prepared to carry out such acts of violence.
“I will be writing to the Lord Chief Justice, on behalf of the Alliance Party, to demand a meeting to express our dissatisfaction. We will also continue to lobby appropriate Ministers and interested parties to have this glaring anomaly resolved.
“There is little point in police officers bearing the brunt of brute force against them, to be insulted by an inadequate judicial remedy. Those who engage in rioting must be brought face-to-face with the seriousness of their actions.”