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Courts must deal more firmly with terrorism

FOLLOWING the recent upsurge in terrorist activity, it is, I believe, time to address the way we deal with terrorists.

Not only do the courts seem to bend over backwards to give defendants in terrorist cases the benefit of the doubt, they seem to choose not to properly consider suspects' failure to account for their movements, or to give evidence in the witness box.

The justice system here does not inspire public confidence. The granting of bail and the sentences upon conviction are cases in point.

It is time the courts really cracked down. To take one example, a man convicted of carrying explosives was given an 18-month custodial sentence. He had a previous conviction for a similar offence. Another example: three people were found guilty of transporting a pipe bomb with intent to endanger life. One had another explosives offence taken into consideration. They got fewer than four years each. When remission and time already served are taken into consideration, they will probably be out in a couple of years.

What would a similar sentence be in Britain? Well, a while back, members of a Muslim group who plotted to kill members of the English Defence League were sentenced to up to 19 years in jail,

It is hard enough getting convictions for terrorists. When we succeed, there should be proper punishment and deterrent. It's time David Ford and the justice committee addressed the issue.



Belfast Telegraph


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