Northern Ireland needs to get tough on the sort of terrorists who killed dad, says son of David Black

Kyle Black leaves court in Belfast in June after the man charged in connection with the murder of his father was acquitted
Kyle Black leaves court in Belfast in June after the man charged in connection with the murder of his father was acquitted

The son of a murdered prison officer says today if Northern Ireland wants to break the “cycle” of terror, its judges should look at how Islamist fanatics are dealt with in Great Britain.

Kyle Black, writing in the News Letter Stop The Legacy Scandal series, says terror is not just a legacy issue but ongoing.

In late 2012, his father David was killed in a drive-by shooting. No-one has been convicted of the attack.

Kyle details what he says is the leniency shown by Northern Irish courts both to terror suspects, in bail policy, and to people who are convicted of terrorism offences.

He says that “there needs to be a focus on breaking the cycle of violence and intimidation to avoid a return to the intensity of terrorist activity seen in our past” – and that the courts must play a role in this.

He cites heavy sentences handed down to Islamist extremists in the UK mainland, and contrasts them to softer jail terms in Northern Ireland for dissident terrorists.

“The UK government has developed defence policy in response to the threat posed by IS-related terrorism, with a tough stance also being taken by the courts. However, surely such a moral based approach is what is also needed in Northern Ireland.”

A man charged with and then acquitted of charges linked to David Black’s murder fled bail before the trial, after his bail conditions were relaxed, and was later captured.

• The essay will be put online in full later on Monday, in this section here