§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many claims have been made against his Department for wrongful arrest, ill-treatment or deprivation of liberty; and how many of these have been made under the Criminal Injuries to Persons (Compensation) Act (Northern Ireland).
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 21st May 1976; Vol. 911, c. 743–44], gave the following information:
No claims have been made solely against my Department for wrongful arrest or ill-treatment. Since August 1971, 131 claims have been made to my Department or the previous Northern Ireland Ministry of Home Affairs for deprivation of liberty. There have been 1,826 claims under one or more of the three headings against the Ministry of Defence, the RUC and others, jointly or separately. All claims of this latter kind are handled on a common law basis by the Claims Commission of the Ministry of Defence. If settlements are made on this basis the costs are shared jointly by the Ministry of Defence and the Police Authority for Northern Ireland.
A claim on these grounds under the Criminal Injuries to Persons Compensation) Act (Northern Ireland) 1968 could be considered only if the court determined that a criminal act had been committed. To establish whether any such 423W awards have been made would entail an examination of 17,042 files relating to cases of compensation for criminal injury to persons which have been settled under the Act since its commencement on 1st March 1969, which would be a disproportionate use of staff resources.