Criminal justice system gaps must be addressed

Ivana Bacik TD
03 July 2024
  • Review of Sentencing Practice Needed
  • Sentencing Guidelines must be developed by the Judicial Council

Labour leader Ivana Bacik has called on Government to deal with the gaps in Ireland’s criminal justice system when dealing with violent and gender-based violence.

Deputy Bacik said:

“The Government must act immediately to address the flaws in our criminal justice system, particularly issues around sentencing practices for violent crimes, highlighted in recent weeks by the brave advocacy of Natasha O’Brien whom we were delighted to invite into Leinster House today for debate on our Labour motion.

“While a practising barrister, working in criminal law, I saw first-hand how ill-equipped aspects of our criminal justice system are to address the reality of violent crime, and of gender-based violence.

“The Government did not oppose Labour’s motion in the Dáil today. It called for an immediate review of the practice of suspending sentences, and the criteria used for applying suspension to those convicted of violent crimes.

“Labour’s motion also called for increased urgency in the development of sentencing guidelines by the Judicial Council, including clear guidance on the use of character references, and a comprehensive database of judicial sentences.

“The justice system is there to provide recourse to victims but time and again, we know that victims feel let down by the system. This status quo cannot continue. Victims of violent crime must be treated with compassion. It is time to act decisively to ensure that our legal system delivers true justice and support for victims of violent crimes.”

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