Victims' rights - by country

Irlanda do Norte

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Irlanda do Norte

Can I appeal against the ruling?

Victims have no right of appeal against the conviction or sentence of the offender.

What are my rights after sentencing?

Following the trial your are entitled to:

  • be paid any expenses the PPS have decided are due to you if you have attended court to give evidence;
  • be informed by the Victim and Witness Care Unit about the outcome of the trial including, where available, a brief summary of reasons for the decision;
  • be directed by the Victim and Witness Care Unit to victim support services where appropriate and where they are available.

(i) If an application is made to the Crown Court to appeal against a conviction or sentence in the Magistrates' Court.

You are entitled to be informed of the following information by your Victim and Witness Care Unit:

  • any notice of appeal that has been made;
  • the date, time and location of any hearing;
  • the outcome of the appeal, including any changes to the original sentence.

You are also entitled to:

  • wait and be seated in court in an area separate from the appellant and their family and friends. The court will ensure this is done wherever possible;
  • be provided with a contact point at the Crown Court;
  • receive information about victim support services where appropriate and available.

(ii) If an application is made to appeal against a conviction or sentence to the Court of Appeal, or an application or appeal is made to the UK Supreme Court in a criminal case on a point of law.

You are entitled to be informed of the following by your Victim and Witness Care unit:

  • be told that the appellant has been given leave to appeal;
  • receive information about the date, time and location of any hearing;
  • be told if the appellant is to be released on bail pre-appeal or if the bail conditions have varied;
  • receive an update on any changes to hearing dates;
  • be provided with a contact point for the Criminal Appeal Office or UK Supreme Court staff;
  • be told about the result of the appeal. This includes any changes to the original sentence.
  • wait and be seated in court in an area separate from the appellant and their family and friends. The court staff will ensure this is done wherever possible. It is rare for the appellant to attend hearings in the Supreme Court. Special arrangements will be made for you if the appellant is present and you do not wish to sit in the courtroom;
  • request a copy from the Criminal Appeal Office or UK Supreme Court staff of the court's judgement in the case once it has been published.

Following grant of leave to appeal, if you are a bereaved close relative, in a qualifying case, you are entitled to be offered a meeting with the PPS to explain the nature of the appeal and the court processes.

Criminal Cases Review Commission

On receiving an application from an offender, the Criminal Cases Review Commission undertakes reviews of convictions and sentences imposed as a result of the offender's criminal offending. The Commission may refer a conviction or sentence for a fresh appeal if there is some new information or new argument which might mean the conviction is unsafe or the sentence too long. The Commission receives about 1000 applications from convicted persons every year and refers about 30-40 cases for a fresh appeal. When reviewing a case , the Commission will assess the potential impact on you and decide if you should be notified. The Commission will record the reasons for its decisions as to the form of contact with you and in appropriate cases will notify the police of those decisions.

  • You are entitled to be notified by the Commission if it deems there is a reasonable prospect of a review coming to your attention.
  • If the Commission decides that it is appropriate to contact you during the course of the review, the Commission will notify you that an application has been received and that the case is under review. Following the review, the Commission will decide if the conviction or sentence should be referred to the courts, and will notify you of its decision unless you have expressly asked not to be informed.
  • If the Commission decides that it is not appropriate to contact you during the review, but subsequently decides to refer the conviction or sentence to the courts, the presumption is that the Commission will inform you of the referral.

Am I entitled to support or protection after the trial? For how long?

  • You are entitled to access victim support services at any time, whether you have reported a crime or not, and after the conclusion of the investigation and prosecution.

What information will I be given if the offender is sentenced?

  • You are entitled to be informed by the Victim and Witness Care Unit of the sentence given to the suspect (if convicted). This includes a short explanation about the meaning and effect of the sentence.
  • You are entitled to be referred to the PPS who will answer any questions you may have about the sentence which the Victim and Witness Care Unit is not able to answer.
  • In addition to the entitlements outlined above, if you are a bereaved close relative, in a qualifying case, you are also entitled to be offered a meeting with the PPS representative who will explain the sentence given. This meeting will usually take place at court.

Will I be told if the offender is released (including early or conditional release) or escapes from prison?

If an offender is sentenced to prison, confined to hospital or is under Probation Board supervision you are entitled to be informed by the Victim and Witness Care Unit about access to a relevant post-conviction victim information scheme. You are also entitled to ask the Victim Information Unit to provide you with certain information. The Unit, which is managed by the Probation Board for Northern Ireland, co-ordinates a single victims' service which covers all three victim information schemes. The three schemes are the prisoner release victim information scheme (PRVIS), the Probation Board for Northern Ireland victim information scheme and the mentally disordered offenders victim information scheme. These relate to:

  • young offenders who have been given the equivalent of a life sentence, convicted of a grave offence or sentenced to detention in a Young Offenders Centre by the Crown Court (when the young offender becomes 18). The prison scheme also covers adult offenders (18 or over) who are sentenced to six months or more;
  • offenders who receive a sentence which includes supervision by the Probation Board for Northern Ireland; and
  • offenders who are subject to a Hospital Order with a Restriction Order.

Prisoner Release Victim Information Scheme (PRVIS)

If you register with the scheme you are entitled to be informed by the Victim Information Unit, without unnecessary delay (where it has been informed of a decision or outcome), about:

  • the year and month in which a prisoner is expected to be released from custody or will be eligible to be considered for temporary release;
  • when the prisoner is being considered for temporary release;
  • any decision taken in relation to temporary release; and
  • any known conditions of the prisoner's release, or conditions imposed on temporary release, and any breaches of these which result in the prisoner being returned to custody unless sharing the information would endanger someone or there is an identified risk of harm to the offender which would result from this.

In the cases of prisoners given a life sentence, an indeterminate custodial sentence or an extended custodial sentence which are subject to considerations of release by the Parole Commissioners you are entitled to be informed by the Victim Information Unit about when the prisoner is being considered for release. You will also be entitled to make your views on release known to the Parole Commissioners (through the Victim Information Unit) ahead of such a prisoner being considered for release. You are entitled to be informed of the decision the Parole Commissioners make and, if it is to release the prisoner, to be told of the licensing arrangements that apply.

You are also entitled to have the opportunity to submit views to the Victim Information Unit, or to register concerns you have about your personal safety and have these considered as part of the assessment process, when an offender applies for temporary release or is to be released on licence.

Very occasionally it may only be possible to tell you about a release after it has happened. In the very unlikely event that an offender in the case you are involved in escapes from detention you will be entitled to be informed about this, without unnecessary delay, by the police or the prison service, unless sharing the information would endanger someone or there is an identified risk of harm to the offender which would result from this. You are also entitled to be informed by the police or prison service of any measures then taken to protect you.

Probation Board for Northern Ireland Victim Information Scheme

If you register with this scheme you are entitled to receive information from the Victim Information Unit, without unnecessary delay (where it has been informed of a decision or outcome), on:

  • how the case is to be managed;
  • the type and length of supervision the offender will receive and the general conditions of this (including any variation);
  • any extra conditions that apply to the supervision, including where these are varied;
  • the number of hours of community service, where this applies; and
  • any further sentences relating to the case.

You are also entitled to choose how you receive this information (for example, face-to-face, by phone or in writing) and to discuss any concerns you may have a Victim Information Unit staff member. In certain cases the Unit will also offer you the opportunity to give your views and concerns in a victim report, so they can be considered by the Parole Commissioners.

Mentally Disordered Offenders Victim Information Scheme

This scheme provides information about any periods of leave of absence from hospital being considered for an offender and their conditional or absolute discharge from hospital. If you register for this scheme you are entitled to be informed by the Victim Information Unit, without unnecessary delay (where it has been informed of a decision or outcome):

  • when a period of leave of absence is to be considered;
  • that a period of leave of absence is to be granted, or an offender is to be discharged from hospital, within the next few weeks, along with any general conditions relevant to you; and
  • of any relevant conditions that apply to the offender leaving hospital.

You are also entitled to have the opportunity to submit your views, in writing, to the Victim Information Unit on how the proposed leave or discharge may affect your safety or well being and also what conditions an offender might be subject to when leaving hospital.

Last update: 14/03/2019

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