Derry Journal

CRJ Boycott Restorative Justice Conference

Tuesday 1st March 2005

The Derry-based Community Rrestorative Justice group have said they are not attending a conference on restorative justice held in Belfast this week because it was organised by the PSNI.

The conference, entitled 'Restorative justice: From the mechanics to the dynamics' is being held in the Ramada Hotel in Belfast yesterday and today.

It is the latest in a series of events organised by the PSNI with the aim of emphasising their commitment "to put human rights at the centre of everything it does."

Delegates at the conference wil look at advances in restorative justice in the North and draw comparisons with England and Wales.

It is believed that none of the groups operating schemes in republican and nationalist areas have agreed to attend.

Yesterday Noel McCartney of the CRJ in Derry said his group was not attending because the event was organised by the PSNI.

He added: "The CRJ believe the PSNI are still not acceptable to the nationalist and republican people of this city and for that reason we decided not to attend this conference."

Mr. McCartney continued: "We also firmly believe that even if Sinn Fein were to join the Policing Board overnight there is still a long process of debate and negotiation that would have to be gone through before the PSNI would be accepted within republican and nationalist areas."

Speaking before the conference Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie, head of the PSNI Criminal Justice department said: "Restorative Justice has the potential to offer a dynamic solution to the delivery of justice for certain types of crime because it involves the victim, the perpetrator and the community.

"The Police Service of Northern Ireland recognises the value of restorative justice projects."

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