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Local Developments

21 year old woman given suspended sentence for inducing abortion with pills

The defendant, who at the age of 19 procured an abortion by purchasing pills on the Internet was given a three months suspended sentence at Belfast Crown Court.  The defendant could not afford to travel to England to obtain a legal termination.  However, she sought advice from a clinic in England about what pills to buy and induced an abortion.

She pleaded guilty to two offences: procuring her own abortion by using a poison, and supplying a poison with intent to procure a miscarriage, contrary to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

Criminal Law, Health, Local Developments, Medical Law

Clintyclay Primary School decision remitted back to trial judge

The High Court is required to reconsider its decision to quash the Minister of Education’s decision to close Clintyclay Primary School, the first Catholic school in Northern Ireland attempting a transformation to integrated status.

The Minister had announced his decision after considering a proposal for closure and a proposal for transformation to integrated status.  He considered that low enrolment numbers (of 30 children) meant that it was no longer sustainable.  Due to this long term situation, switching to integrated status was not considered feasible.

Education, Local Developments

Prison policy of filming forced strip searches breaches ECHR

On 15th March 2016, Mr Justice Treacy allowed a judicial review which challenged the Prison Service Policy that permits forced strip searches to be recorded and retained for a period of six years. 

Rule 16 of the Prison and Young Offenders’ Centre Rules (NI) 1996 permits forcible searching where prisoners refuse to provide consent.  However, prisoners must not be required to undress in the sight of another prisoner or any person other than the officers conducting the search.

ECHR Art. 8, Local Developments, Prisoners' Rights

Court sets aside conviction for refusing to answer

The appellant was stopped in his car by police on 11th March 2014 under the Justice and Security Act 2007.  When asked to provide details of his movements, he stated that he was going to his mother’s home but refused to provide her address.  The police informed him that it was an offence to refuse to give them this information under the 2007 Act.  He refused and was arrested under the Police (NI) Act 1998 for obstruction of a police officer in the due execution of his duty and fined £50.

Criminal Law, Local Developments

ECtHR finds breach of NI man’s Article 8 rights


R.E. v The United Kingdom (Application no. 62498/11)

The European Court of Human Rights (‘ECtHR’) held unanimously that there had been a violation of a local man’s (known as RE) Article 8 rights (Right to respect for private and family life) in regard to the covert surveillance of solicitor/client consultations.

ECHR Art. 8, Local Developments