Clarke welcomes ‘definition of victim’
A SOUTH Antrim MLA has said he is delighted that a motion calling for Northern Ireland’s legal definition of a victim to be changed to exclude terrorists.
DUP Assemblyman Trevor Clarke attended the motion hearing on May 8, calling for the Province to adopt the EU definition of a victim as someone who has suffered harm caused by acts or omissions in violation of the criminal law of an EU member state.
The motion was carried unopposed despite claims from the SDLP and Sinn Fein prior to the vote that they would attempt to defeat it.
“This is a very positive step forward in distinguishing between ‘real’ victims and actual perpetrators,” Mr Clarke said.
He added: “It has been a sickening situation for many years that an innocent person who was victim to a crime could be classed alongside a terrorist who made a conscious choice to engage in illegal activity and came to harm.
“It is about time we in Northern Ireland adopted the same definition as the EU, and it is a shame to see that so called pro-European parties such as the SDLP are not comfortable with separating victims and perpetrators in this way.”
Mr Clarke added that now that this motion is passed, it shows there is support for a “distinction being made between victims and perpetrators”.
“My colleague Jeffrey Donaldson attempted to go further two years ago, calling for the law to recognise such a difference, only to have the SDLP block it,” Mr Clarke said.
He added: “However, with the success in changing the definition of a victim, the way could be paved for a Private Members’ Bill to bring the law into line with the new definition.
“This would be the ultimate goal for my constituents and I, as the innocent victims of crime in Northern Ireland could then be treated with the respect and compensation they deserve, rather than having their trauma devalued by being put on a power with terrorists and criminals.”
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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