Belfast Telegraph

Hate crime review expanded to include non-reserved issues over online offences

Public consultation is due to begin in early January with a series of outreach events.

Judge Desmond Marrinan (Michael Cooper/PA)
Judge Desmond Marrinan (Michael Cooper/PA)

By Rebecca Black, PA

The remit of an independent review of hate crime legislation has been expanded to include non-reserved issues around online offences.

Judge Desmond Marrinan was tasked earlier this year with leading the review.

It is expected to include a new agreed definition of what a hate crime is, and to examine sentencing for hate crimes, whether new categories should be created and to identify any potential improvements.

Several months after the review’s launch, the team has announced its remit been expanded to consider non-reserved issues around online hate crime.

The public consultation is set to begin in early January and will include a number of outreach events planned for Belfast, Ballymena, Craigavon, Derry/Londonderry, Dungannon and Enniskillen.

A spokesman for the review team said they have been encouraged by the engagement it has received so far.

He said it has become apparent that there is a desire for clarification that non-reserved online hate crime issues specific to Northern Ireland would be considered in the review.

The terms of reference have been revised to reflect that the review will consider whether existing hate crime legislation represents the most effective approach for the justice system to deal with criminal conduct motivated by hatred, malice, ill will or prejudice, including hate crime and abuse online.

The revised terms of reference recognise that some issues relating to telecommunications matters are not devolved, and the review will take cognisance of this.

The final report is expected to be submitted to Department of Justice next summer.

To register an interest in attending any of the planned public engagement events, email your contact details and preferred event location to registration@hatecrimereviewni.org.uk

PA

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