An innovative multi-agency “substance misuse” court in Belfast Magistrates Court aims to treat the symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse rather than just punishing the offender by imposing a prison sentence.
The Substance Misuse Court, a pilot scheme in Northern Ireland, involves Addiction NI, the Probation Board of Northern Ireland and mental health agencies and professionals. The purpose of the specialist Court is to identify offenders, where they admit responsibility for offences, who offend as a result of drug and alcohol dependency.
The Court deals with offenders by initially directing a programme of multi-agency help from healthcare professionals with a mandatory drug test of clients before the Court at each Court appearance.
Diarmaid Kelly, an experienced criminal defence solicitor with the firm, has successfully represented clients before the new Court and said today;
“The introduction of this Court, specifically tailored to deal with the source of client’s problems rather than just sentencing them for the consequences, is certainly innovative and welcome. The Court looks at the underlying issues in an attempt to break the cycle of offending, rather than simply punishing the offender.”
If you are charged with a criminal offence arising from a substance misuse problem please contact our Criminal Defence Department for an initial consultation on 02890-278227.