On May 14, 2020, we published an article under the headline "Yes of course review current legislation on hate crime, but not at the expense of free speech" relating to the ongoing Review led by His Honour Judge Desmond Marrinan.
Our article contained a number of factual inaccuracies, and, in addition, under-estimated the number of outreach events, the significant number of media reports, and the breadth and extent of the consultations.
In fact, contrary to what was suggested in the article, a number of outreach events were held throughout Northern Ireland, Judge Marrinan took part in a round of interviews with local media which were widely reported, a dedicated website had been set up and there had been consultation with the four main churches and the Evangelical Alliance.
Indeed, we understand that there were over a thousand responses to the consultation paper, not only from individuals but from many institutions such as churches, victims groups, relevant statutory agencies, NGOs and charitable groups, indicating the depth of interest in the work of the review and the importance of the subject. Furthermore, the issue of freedom of expression was explored in depth in the consultation paper.
We apologise unreservedly to Judge Marrinan for any inference taken from our article that he had not acted with the utmost integrity, professionalism and competence in leading a highly sensitive but critically important review process.