§ 12. Mr. Canavan
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons have been received in prison in Northern Ireland having been convicted of scheduled offences in the past 12 months.
§ Mr. Canavan
How many of those people are in prison because of the evidence of "supergrasses" who have been bribed by the police and given immunity from prosecution? Does he agree that law and order is being brought into disrepute, through a system of so-called justice in Northern Ireland that is grossly inferior to the standards of justice in England, Scotland or Wales?
§ Mr. Peter Robinson
Can the Minister say how many of those who were found guilty of such offences received non-custodial sentences?
§ Ms. Harman
Does the Minister accept that reducing the opportunities to the right to a jury trial through having people tried for serious offences by a judge alone undermines respect for law and order? Does he agree that by restoring jury trials he will restore more respect for the administration of justice, and not provide a fresh source for existing grievances?
§ Mr. Scott
I do not believe that anyone would lightly change from the system that exists in the rest of the. United Kingdom, but I am convinced that in the circumstances of Northern Ireland it is necessary for us to do that. On the other hand, we are having a comprehensive review under Sir George Baker of the workings of the emergency provisions legislation, and we should await his findings before we say anything more on the matter.
§ Mr. Flannery
Can the Minister give us an assurance that perjured murderers supergrassing, possibly on other murderers, are not being paid money to do that? Or are people being put in prison because of the so-called evidence of perjured murderers who are being paid?
§ Mr. Archer
I do not invite the Minister to anticipate Sir George Baker's report, but, as Mr. Dermot Walsh's survey in 1981 found that 40 per cent. of the cases tried under the Diplock procedure have no connection with terrorism, will he keep an open mind on the proposal that the Attorney-General's certifying out procedure should be replaced by a certifying in procedure so that there is no assumption that what appear on the face of them to be normal offences should be tried without a jury?