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Pressing need to clearly define hate crime legislation, says Alliance

There is a pressing need to clearly define hate crime legislation in Northern Ireland, Alliance representatives have told a senior judge carrying out a review of the issue.

John Blair MLA and Kellie Armstrong MLA were speaking after meeting with Judge Desmond Marrinan to discuss his independent review of hate crime, with the goal of making the reporting and sentencing procedure more easily understood. A full consultation is expected in October, with recommendations expected to be published in May 2020.

“This constructive meeting was ahead of Alliance’s formal response to the upcoming consultation,” said Mr Blair.

“Alliance believes we need to clearly define hate crime and put steps in place to recognise both the seriousness of these crimes through appropriate recording and sentencing. We encouraged Judge Marrinan to consider, where appropriate, restorative measures to enable individual and societal change.”

His colleague Kellie Armstrong MLA said she encouraged people to participate in the consultation when it is released.

“We confirmed with the judge we support the inclusion of crimes against transgender people, age and those that are sectarian alongside race, gender, disability and sexual orientation within hate crime legislation.

“We also want to see the team working on the review work with the social inclusion and diversity team to ensure all strategies are aligned with the outcomes.”