Case details

In the matter of an application by Deborah McGuinness for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland)

Case ID: UKSC 2019/0032

Case summary


Where a life prisoner convicted of inter alia terrorist murders secures early release on licence under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 ("1998 Act") and such licence is revoked due to fundamental breaches occasioned by further terrorist offending while on release and the prisoner is convicted of such further offences, receiving no effective additional sentence,[ ] having regard to the provisions of the 1998 Act and the Life Sentences (NI) Order 2001 ("2001 Order") is the prisoner’s judicially determined "tariff" to include the period of his release on licence?


On 03 March 1998 Mr Stone received a sentence of life imprisonment. On 17 February 1999, the Sentence Review Commissioners made a declaration of eligibility of early release. On 24 July 2000, Mr Stone was released on licence. On 24 November 2006, Mr Stone carried out an attack on at Parliament Buildings, Stormont. On 06 September 2011, the Sentence Review Commissioners revoked the licence upon which Mr Stone had been released on 24 July 2000. On 29 July 2013, in accordance with the statutory regime, the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland determined that the tariff in respect of the life sentence imposed on 03 March 1989 should be 30 years’ imprisonment. By a letter dated 20 September 2017, the Prison Service made a formal statutory referral of Mr Stone’s case to the Parole Commissioners, intimating that the tariff expiry date would be 21 March 2018. The Divisional Court quashed this decision and certified an arguable point of law of general public importance.

Judgment appealed

[2019] NIQB 10



Department of Justice

  1. Deborah McGuiness
  2. Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland
  3. Michael Stone



Lady Hale, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Sales

Hearing start date

15 Oct 2019

Hearing finish date

15 Oct 2019

Watch hearing
15 Oct 2019 Morning session Afternoon session