Councillor
Peter J. Martin
transparency, accountability and effective representation

Bangor - Councillor Peter J. Martin

We need greater protection of our elderly

Wednesday 17th February 2016

In September 2015 the Department of Justice published its findings after its consultation ‘The Law on Unduly Lenient Sentences’. One of the areas for review was whether ‘Crimes against Older Persons’ should be included in the range of offences which could be referred to the Court of Appeal if the previous courts sentence was considered ‘unduly lenient’.

We need greater protection of our elderly

At the end of this review the Justice Minister David Ford unfortunately decided not to include these crimes in the referable list.

Cllr Peter Martin

“The Alliance Justice Minister David Ford was presented last year with an excellent opportunity to include ‘Crimes against Older Persons’ into the list of offences which could be referred to the Court of Appeal if the perpetrators sentence was considered unduly lenient. Unfortunately he decided not to do so. In the Ards and North Down council area we have more elderly people in our Borough than in any other Council area. These people, who have already given much to our society, need to feel protected by the police and when an offence is committed against them the perpetrator should face an appropriately lengthy sentence. 

These crimes leave our elderly feeling very hurt, vulnerable, and they often suffer psychological trauma well after the crime has been committed. If we value our older people more should be done to protect them and when their homes are violated or they are subject to attack the severity of the punishment should fit the crime. David Ford has had five years as the Justice Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly to sort this matter out and in my view he has abjectly failed to do so.

I’m glad that my motion passed the committee [Alliance members abstaining and SDLP voting against it] and it will now go to full Council for ratification. The Age Champions will hopefully be a useful point of contact, both for Councillors and the public, for issues that directly effect our older generation.’

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