Should there be a Sentencing Council to advise Judges what punishment to give in Rape etc cases?

Catalpast

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Should there be a Sentencing Council to advise Judges what punishment to give in Rape etc cases?

Mary Lou of SF seems to think so and for once I entirely agree with her

Holding our Judiciary to account is a fundamental part of a healthy Democracy!

The light sentence handed down to child abuser Tom Humphries has “brought the judiciary into disrepute,” the Dáil has been told.
While she did not name Mr Humphries in her contribution, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald described how a recent case in which the perpetrator had “bombarded” his victim with thousands of text messages.
....

Ms McDonald said the outcome of the case had “rightly disgusted and angered people” and there is “a very real problem with the sentences handed down to perpetrators of rape and sexual abuse”.

She asked Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald to consider introducing a ‘sentencing council’ which would set out guidelines for judges.


https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/newsireland/tom-humphries-case-brought-judiciary-into-disrepute-dáil-told/ar-AAu5frr?li=AA4ZnA&ocid=spartandhp
 


D

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Nope! Just a clean out of several elderly sitting judges.
 

Old Mr Grouser

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Should there be a Sentencing Council to advise Judges what punishment to give in Rape etc cases? ...

She asked Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald to consider introducing a ‘sentencing council’ which would set out guidelines for judges.


https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/newsireland/tom-humphries-case-brought-judiciary-into-disrepute-dáil-told/ar-AAu5frr?li=AA4ZnA&ocid=spartandhp
There's certainly a need for consistency, but a Sentencing Council seems over the top for a small country.

Wouldn't it be more effective simply to split the Circuit and District Court Judiciaries so that one set of judges hears the Criminal cases and another set deals with the Civil actions?
 
D

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There's certainly a need for consistency, but a Sentencing Council seems over the top for a small country.

Wouldn't it be more effective simply to split the Circuit and District Court Judiciaries so that one set of judges hears the Criminal cases and another set deals with the Civil actions?
Simpler still to separate them along the lines of 'offenses against the State' and 'offenses against the person'.

Send all the judges who hand down the soft/suspended sentences to the 'against the State' side.

Then move the judges who send garlic smugglers and octogenarian cancer sufferers to prison to the 'against the person' side.

That, coupled with mandatory minimum sentences, would work much better than what is suggested in the OP.
 

nationalsday

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I don't understand as to what was the judge was supposed to have done wrong in imposing the sentence in Humphries case. If the statute prescribes that five years is the maximum sentence, then he was entitled to a discount for pleading guilty - a year off the five which brings it down to four. He was of previous good character .ie. he had no previous convictions which entitled him to a further discount - another year off bringing it down to three; and ,the notoriety attaching to the case and his "fall from grace" as a public figure was probably responsible for the rest of the discount.

If she gave him anything over what is prescribed in the statute then the sentence would have been unconstitutional. This is not rocket science.

Mary Lou McDonald should well know that, being a legislator
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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It wasn't a particularly light sentence. Five years was the max...he pleaded guilty, so it had to be reduced. Then the judge seemed to consider his fall from grace (it's an undeniable additional punishment which he is suffering...the very existence of this thread is proof).

The problem is the five year maximum term...and that seems to have been remedied by a 2017 act which raised it to 14 years
 

nationalsday

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It wasn't a particularly light sentence. Five years was the max...he pleaded guilty, so it had to be reduced. Then the judge seemed to consider his fall from grace (it's an undeniable additional punishment which he is suffering...the very existence of this thread is proof).

The problem is the five year maximum term...and that seems to have been remedied by a 2017 act which raised it to 14 years
Snap!
 

Dame_Enda

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Perhaps. Remember the 6 year sentence for garlic tax offences handed down by Judge Martin Nolan who also presided at an Anglo trial that handed out very lenient sentences.
 

Dame_Enda

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There is a persistent pattern of lenient sentencing but Im not as sure it's as lenient on sexual offences. Some judges are very tough on child abusers (eg I recall a case where a man who kidnapped and molested two small girls was sentenced to life imprisonment), while on the other end of the sentencing scale there's the Humphrey's case which was leniently sentenced.
 

ainm_eile

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Don't lose sight of what is essentially happening: SF are proposing to create a quasi-judicial entity outside of the formal system with an explicit mandate to make sure that individual judges don't have too much discretion.

SF surely must have given careful consideration to the possibility that all the FG/FF/LAB appointees might make their lives difficult if they were ever in government after seeing the problems Mohammad Morsi was subjected to by Mubarak-appointed judges.
 

Catalpast

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Don't lose sight of what is essentially happening: SF are proposing to create a quasi-judicial entity outside of the formal system with an explicit mandate to make sure that individual judges don't have too much discretion.

SF surely must have given careful consideration to the possibility that all the FG/FF/LAB appointees might make their lives difficult if they were ever in government after seeing the problems Mohammad Morsi was subjected to by Mubarak-appointed judges.
As things stand leniency is at the discretion of a Judge

- they are not obliged to be lenient

If five years is the Max then a year off would have been ample

But I think there should be some oversight on sentencing by a non Judicial Body

- even if it was purely advisory
 

pumpkinpie

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I think the law is adequate as it is, a Sentencing Council would just be another burden on finances. The guy is going to get a rough ride in prison, his kind usually do and rightly so. As much as I disagree with many of the judicial decisions made in Ireland I don't want to see interference from some separate body, it just complicates things. Much better that judges sentence on the higher scale the law allows.
 

sgtharper

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Surely the maximum and minimun sentences are already laid down in law, and no doubt there are sentencing guidelines to assist the Magistrates or Judges in arriving at a the appropriate sentence? Why would you want to introduce another level of bureaucracy, inevitably open to challenge and criticism into the proceedings?
Maybe the public need to be more informed as to how sentences are set in the first place.
 

Catalpast

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Surely the maximum and minimun sentences are already laid down in law, and no doubt there are sentencing guidelines to assist the Magistrates or Judges in arriving at a the appropriate sentence? Why would you want to introduce another level of bureaucracy, inevitably open to challenge and criticism into the proceedings?
Maybe the public need to be more informed as to how sentences are set in the first place.
The problem is that the General Public believe that the sentences handed down in cases of extreme violence and sexual assault are far too lenient

- and that judges seem all too willing too many times to give maximum leniency
 

RodShaft

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Surely the maximum and minimun sentences are already laid down in law, and no doubt there are sentencing guidelines to assist the Magistrates or Judges in arriving at a the appropriate sentence? Why would you want to introduce another level of bureaucracy, inevitably open to challenge and criticism into the proceedings?
Maybe the public need to be more informed as to how sentences are set in the first place.
Maximum only.
 

blokesbloke

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The sentencing seems to be lenient in most cases in Ireland, not just sexual ones, so I don't think they should be singled out.

We have a Sentencing Guidelines Council in England but it seems to act the opposite way to what people would want, recommending sentences on the low side.

There's also the disconnect between the sentence given and the sentence actually served, which makes a mockery of the whole process in my view.
 

Old Mr Grouser

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The problem is that the General Public believe that the sentences handed down in cases of extreme violence and sexual assault are far too lenient

- and that judges seem all too willing too many times to give maximum leniency
Yes.

And on top of that prison overcrowding means that sometimes convicts are released - sometimes even thrown out into the street without warning - so as to make space for those most recently sentenced.

Ireland's Law Enforcement and Justice industries need radical reform, but also the taxpayers need to put more money into them.
 

Round tower

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It wasn't a particularly light sentence. Five years was the max...he pleaded guilty, so it had to be reduced. Then the judge seemed to consider his fall from grace (it's an undeniable additional punishment which he is suffering...the very existence of this thread is proof).

The problem is the five year maximum term...and that seems to have been remedied by a 2017 act which raised it to 14 years
Was the maximnum for one of the charges not higher for one of the charges, the problem inn Ire. is not how lenient the sentence is, it is instead of sentence being consecutive, judges here make sentences concurrent. So if a person gets sentenced say 6 years for one conviction and 4 years for the second, normally they only get sentenced for 6 years instead of 10.
 


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