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Former CM To Lead Justice Review

Former Chief Minister, Peter Harwood is to lead a review of Guernsey's justice policy and sentencing powers.

The Home Affairs Committee has appointed the advocate and non-voting States Member as its lead for Justice Policy.

A review of the island's justice system was made a priority in the Government Work Plan.

The review will include examining the sentences that can be imposed for offences committed here.

Earlier this week, another former chief minister -Deputy Gavin St Pier - called for a debate on drug possession laws, with Guernsey's known to be particularly strict.

It follows the case of islander Pip Orchard who is appealing his two and half years jail term for drugs offences.

The committee says it still cannot comment on individual cases and sentences handed down by the courts.

It also says enforcement is a matter for Bailiwick Law Enforcement, which is independent from the committee - adding that 'this separation of powers is crucial to ensure the criminal justice system operates without political interference.'

“As politicians and members of States committees we must always ensure that we do not interfere or comment upon individual cases that are current, and which are properly the responsibility of the Courts.

The separation of functions between the law makers, the prosecution authority and the judiciary is vital to the integrity of our system of justice.

The Committee is however fully aware of concerns that have been raised by the media and members of the public on matters of Justice and sentencing policy."

Under the last government, a Justice Review by Gemma Buckland from Do it Justice was presented to the States.  It made a number of recommendations but also said more information was needed.

The previous committee was directed to develop a Justice Framework.  Home Affairs President Rob Prow says that work is being ramped up:

"...we have rolled up our sleeves and started the necessary processes; appointing Advocate Harwood as the Lead for Justice Policy is just one of the steps we are taking.

This is of course a huge undertaking, which will need to be considered in the round, with full consultation with stakeholders and the public.

I would ask that, as a Committee, we are given the time to complete this review thoroughly and properly, and we suggest no one should pre-judge the outcome of the review."

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