Government Proposes New Sex Offenders Law

Sex offenders and violent criminals could be caged indefinitely under radical new Government plans. Northern Ireland minister Paul Goggins will publish draft proposals overhauling the law in the province to protect the public from the most dangerous criminals.

The changes would also mean prisoners could be forced to serve the full term of their sentence. The move comes after the Belfast Telegraph’s high profile Justice For Attracta campaign which shamed the Government into scrapping its 50% remission policy for high risk offenders.

Strabane woman Mrs Harron was bludgeoned to death by convicted rapist Trevor Hamilton who then buried her naked body in a shallow grave in Co Tyrone. Depraved Hamilton had just been released from prison where he had served just half of a seven-year sentence for rape.

Mr Goggins said: “Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the independent judiciary. We have, however, announced plans for changes to the statutory sentencing framework to introduce new public protection sentences for dangerous sexual and violent offenders.

“Under the proposals, dangerous sexual and violent offenders could receive extended public protection sentences whereby they could be detained in custody for the full term of their prison sentence. Those committing the most serious sexual and violent offences could receive indeterminate public protection sentences and could remain in prison for an indefinite period. I will be publishing draft legislative proposals shortly.”

DUP Upper Bann MP David Simpson has called for jail sentences for rapists to be toughened up at the Northern Ireland Grand Committee in Parliament.

The average sentence handed down in Northern Ireland courts for rape in the last year was 105 months, with men convicted of attempted rape being jailed for around 87 months. Only 19% of cases brought before the courts resulted in a conviction, according to figures.