04 Wednesday Dec 2013
On appeal from:  NICA 57.
The Court unanimously concluded that the High Court in Northern Ireland had an inherent jurisdiction to grant bail, provided certain conditions were met. The conditions were, was it: (a) necessary for the effective disposal of the appellant’s claim; and (b) not contrary to the purpose or spirit of the relevant legislation that the court should have power to order his release pending reconsideration of his case by the parole commissioners. Through the Life Sentences (Northern Ireland) Order 2001, the legislature had placed in the hands of a panel of experts the difficult decision as to when a life sentence prisoner should be released. Their role should not be supplanted by a judge who does not have access to the range of information and skills available to the commissioners.