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Case details

Morgan and others (Respondents) v Ministry of Justice (Appellant) (Northern Ireland)

Case ID: 2022/0056

Case summary

Issue

Whether Section 30 of the Counter Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021 is incompatible with Articles 5, 6, and/or 7 of the ECHR. If so, what (if any) remedy is appropriate.

Facts

The Respondents were prosecuted with a variety of terrorism offences. All eventually pleaded guilty. On 13 November 2020, Colton J sentenced the Respondents to custodial terms of imprisonment ranging from 3 years to 6 years and 6 months. All sentences were to be served half on custody and half on licence. On 29 April 2021, the Counter Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021 (the “2021 Act”) received Royal Assent. Section 30 of the 2021 Act introduced Article 20A into the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 (the “2008 Order”). Article 20A provided that no prisoner convicted of certain terrorism offences shall be released on licence unless they have served two-thirds of their sentence in custody. The effect of Article 20A was thus that the Respondents must serve two-thirds of their sentences in custody and one-third on licence, rather than half in custody and half on licence. However, the end date of the Respondents’ determinate custodial sentences was unaltered.

The Respondents appealed against their conviction to the Court of Appeal. They submitted that Section 30 of the 2021 Act was incompatible with Articles 5, 6, and/or 7 of the ECHR. They sought an order that the terms of their original sentences be restored. The Court of Appeal granted a declaration of incompatibly to the effect that Section 30 of the 2021 Act is incompatible with Article 7 of the ECHR. However, the Court of Appeal did not restore the terms of the Respondents’ original sentences. The Appellant now seeks permission to appeal the declaration of incompatibility to the Supreme Court. The Respondents seek permission to cross–appeal in respect of the Court of Appeal’s findings that Section 30 of the 2021 Act was not incompatible with Articles 5 and 6 of the ECHR. The Respondents also seek permission to cross–appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision not to grant the relief sought by the Respondents, viz. the restoration of the terms of their original sentences.

Judgment appealed

[2021] NICA 67

Parties

Appellant(s)

Ministry of Justice

Respondent(s)

Seamus Morgan and others

Appeal

Justices

Lord Reed, Lord Sales, Lord Hamblen, Lord Burrows, Lord Stephens

Hearing start date

22 February 2023

Hearing finish date

23 February 2023