News Letter
17 May 2012

OWEN Paterson has defended his decision to revoke the licence which allowed Old Bailey bomber Marian Price out of jail under the Belfast Agreement.

The Old Bailey bomber was returned to prison last year after intelligence provided to the Secretary of State linked her to terrorism.

She also faces a charge in connection with the murders of two soldiers at Massereene Barracks. Last week, a judge dismissed charges against Price and three men arising from an Easter commemoration.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP have claimed that she is being “interned” but unionists have supported the decision.

On Sunday, the DUP’s Peter Weir said he wouldn’t “be crying too many tears” over Price.

Yesterday, in the Commons, Mr Paterson made a carefully-worded statement about “a matter of huge consequence and debate in Northern Ireland” without referring to Price by name.

He said that the Parole Commissioners, who are appointed by the Stormont Justice Minister, were responsible for decisions on the release and recall of life-sentence prisoners.

“If information is brought to my attention, I share it with the commissioners and seek a recommendation from them regarding whether to revoke a licence.

“If they recommend that I do so, I will revoke, because I have a duty to protect the public… The commissioners make their decision on whether to release the prisoner because they are no longer a risk to the public, or whether the prisoner should stay in custody. The commissioners’ decision is binding.”

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