Thursday, 11 July 2019
Parole Bill 2016: Committee and Remaining Stages
I return to a point I raised earlier that relates to a number of sections. I am grateful to my colleague, Tony McGillicuddy, BL, for raising the matter with me. There seems to be a discrepancy in the wording of the sections, including in that of the section before us, about whether notifications are to be made to the parolee or to his or her representative. It arises in section 31(6), which states the board is to provide a copy of the decision on varying the parole order to the parolee, while in section 31(2), an application to vary may be made by or on behalf of the parolee. That is in contrast to section 26, which seems to contain no provision for the initial application for parole to be made on behalf of the prisoner. Will the Minister of State clarify whether the absence of the words "on behalf of" in section 26 means that the application must be made by the person, particularly in view of the fact that, under section 31, the application to vary may be made by or on behalf of the parolee? It seems to be an odd anomaly.Then, in section 31(6), why is the copy of the decision sent only to the parolee, even though the application to vary may be made on their behalf? Similar anomalies apply also to the victim representatives. My colleague, Deputy Sherlock, raised the issue of notifications to the victim's representative or family of decisions made and I am glad to see that notifications are provided for throughout the Bill, including in section 31, where a parole order is varied. It is again unclear as to whether submissions must be made by the victim or the victim's family or by their legal representative. There is a slight difference of language between where applications may be made on behalf of a parolee or victim or where they must be made by the victim or parolee themselves. I seek a little clarity on that from the Minister of State.