HC Deb 10 November 1983 vol 48 cc406-7
17. Mr. Stanbrook

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will propose that a sentence of imprisonment for the duration of the time when the emergency provisions legislation shall remain in force in Northern Ireland be available to the courts there when sentencing those convicted of scheduled offences.

Mr. Scott

No, Sir. I do not think the courts should be able to impose sentences the duration of which could be determined by the life of the emergency legislation and which would thus be unconnected with the gravity of the offence or the circumstances of the offender.

Mr. Stanbrook

As a significant proportion of all those who are convicted of terrorism are subsequently released only to commit fresh terrorist offences., is it not common sense, as well as a means of discouraging violence in Northern Ireland, for them to be kept in prison for the duration of the emergency?

Mr. Scott

I see no justification for saying that people should be sentenced and that their release should be dependent on the general security position in the Province or on a political decision of this House rather than be linked to the offence that they have committed.