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Sentencing Guidelines for Judges a landmark moment for Irish Justice System

29 March, 2019 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has today welcomed amendments submitted by the Government to the Judicial Council Bill to provide for Sentencing Guidelines for Judges for the first time.

The amendments came about due to negotiations between Sinn Féin and the Government, relating to Judicial Reform, and based on proposals drafted by Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire & Senator Padraig MacLochlainn.

Speaking today Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;

“Sinn Féin has delivered on Sentencing Guidelines, something which has long been sought by groups representing the victims of crime, and sexual violence organisations such as the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and Rape Crisis Network.

“This is a landmark moment for the Irish Justice System. I expect that ultimately, the vast majority of criminal cases in this state, will see a judge having to take in to account sentencing guidelines for that offence. This is very significant.

“Far too often we have seen victims feeling severely wronged as the perpetrators of the crime have been faced with inadequate, and inappropriate sentencing.

“Everybody agrees that the severity of a sentence must match the severity of the crime.  Currently there are too many instances where this is not happening.

“Indeed last year, a High Court Judge has described the lack of sentencing guidelines in rape cases as ‘somewhat bizarre’.

“While the vast majority of judges balance the considerations well, I believe that Sentencing Guidelines will tackle the issue of unsuitable sentences being handed down.

“We believe the public deserves to know that offenders will receive a sentence that fits the crime and that heinous crimes will be met with stiff sentences. They deserve to know that there is a basis for calculating a sentence.

“Government has, this week, proposed amendments which will mean the Judicial Council will produce Sentencing Guidelines and that Judges will be obliged to have regard to these guidelines when laying down a sentence.”


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