Criminal Justice: Who’s new

Following a number of significant changes and appointments within the criminal justice system, agendaNi outlines some of the newest faces within the sector.

Justice Minister

Naomi Long MLA

Recently co-opted back to the Assembly as an MLA, Alliance Party Leader Naomi Long took up the role as Minister for Justice in the Northern Ireland Executive in January 2020 following the resumption of power-sharing. Long, who represented East Belfast from 2003 to 2010 and between 2016 to 2019, was most recently an MEP appointed in May 2019 and has also served as an MP between 2010 to 2015. Long began her political career on Belfast City Council in 2001 and was elected Lord Mayor of Belfast in 2009. She is Northern Ireland’s third justice minister.

Department of Justice Permanent Secretary

Peter May

Appointed in September 2018, Peter May was previously Permanent Secretary at the Department for Infrastructure and prior to that in the former Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. A graduate of Oxford University, May was one of a number of Permanent Secretaries to come under increased scrutiny in the absence of an Executive.

Justice Committee Chairperson

Paul Givan MLA

Former Minister for Communities between May 2016 and March 2017, Paul Givan was first elected on to Lisburn Council in 2005. In 2010 he was co-opted into the Northern Ireland Assembly to replace Jeffrey Donaldson MP, where he served on the Assembly’s Justice committee until 2014. He was appointed Chair of the Justice Committee in January 2020.

Justice Committee deputy Chairperson

Linda Dillon MLA
(Sinn Féin)

Former Policing Board member and Sinn Féin spokesperson for victims and legacy Linda Dillon was elected to the Mid Ulster Council in 2014 and chaired the newly formed council in its first year. She was elected as an MLA for Mid Ulster in 2016 and subsequently re-elected in 2017. She was appointed the Justice Committee’s deputy Chair in January 2010.

PSNI Chief Constable

Simon Byrne

Appointed Chief Constable in July 2019, Simon Byrne is a former Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary. He began his policing career in 1985 in the Metropolitan Police rising to the rank of Assistant Chief Constable. He took up post as Deputy Chief Constable in Greater Manchester Police in April 2009. In December 2011 he returned to the Metropolitan Police as Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing before moving to the Cheshire Constabulary in 2014.

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable

Mark Hamilton

Appointed in February 2020, Mark Hamilton was previously Assistant Chief Constable for District Policing Command with a responsibility for neighbourhood policing, having previously held posts as Interim Director of Human Resources and Head of Legacy and Justice Department. He has a BA (Hons) Degree in French and Latin from Trinity College, Dublin; a Masters in Social Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Queens University, Belfast; a Masters in Science in Police Leadership and Management from Leicester University; and a Masters in Human Rights Law at Queens University, Belfast.

Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland

Marie Anderson

Prior to being appointed as Police Ombudsman in July 2019, Marie Anderson had held the post of Northern Ireland’s first Public Services Ombudsman, which included roles as Local Government Commissioner for Standards and Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Ombudsman. Previously she has served as the Assistant Information Commissioner for Northern Ireland and established the Information Commissioner’s Office. Anderson is a a Solicitor and Member of the Law Society of Northern Ireland and holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

Prisoner Ombudsman

Rev Dr Lesley Carroll

Lesley Carroll took up post as Prisoner Ombudsman in March 2019. A Presbyterian Minister since 1988, she was most recently deputy Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission. Carroll, who also worked at Victim Support NI, was a Convener of the General Assembly’s Church and Society Committee for seven years and was a member of the Roe House assessment team within Maghaberry Prison and a member of the Consultative Group on Dealing with the Past. In 2016 she sought election to the Assembly for the UUP but left the party after being unsuccessful.

Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice for Northern Ireland

Jacqui Durkin

Jacqui Durkin took up post as Chief Inspector in December 2019 having been appointed in October. She previously held a number of roles within the Northern Ireland Civil Service including most recently as a Director in the Department of Education. Prior to that she was Chief Executive of the NI Courts and Tribunals Service between 2012 to 2014. The initial appointment was for three years with the potential for extension.

Director of Public Prosecution Service

Stephen Herron

Stephen Herron was appointed as Acting Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in May 2017 and was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland on 2 January 2018. A solicitor, he joined the then Department of the Director of the Public Prosecutions in 2002 as a prosecutor and has served in various roles and levels since then including as Senior Assistant Director in 2013, where he took the lead on criminal justice reform initiatives.

Chief Commissioner of the Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland

Paul Mageean

Having previously served as a Parole Commissioner, Paul Mageean was appointed as Chief Commissioner in December 2019. He is a Commissioner for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. In January he was appointed to the Republic of Ireland’s Policing authority and is also chair of the Public Interest Litigation Support Project. Previously, he was Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies in Queen’s University, Belfast and was Legal Officer for the Committee on the Administration of Justice until 2004.

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