Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins has published a Bill to reform the area of criminal sentencing, in order to improve consistency and enhance public confidence in the system.
The proposals centre on the establishment of a Judicial Sentencing Commission, similar to the model in England and Wales. This would issue guidelines on criminal sentencing, promote a clear, fair and consistent approach to judicial sentencing and publish analysis and research on sentencing.
Deputy Collins explained, “A number of recent high profile criminal cases have highlighted the need for significant reform in this area. There can often be enormous pressure on individual members of the judiciary and significant public confusion over the sentences handed down for serious criminal convictions.
“It is clear that the system needs to be more transparent and consistent. People need to understand the decisions that Judges make in their name. By introducing clear guidelines on sentences for criminal convictions, Judges would be supported in their decision-making while their independence is maintained, and the public would understand the reasons behind the decisions that are made.
“I have moved the Judicial Sentencing Bill in the Dáil and will seek to debate it at the earliest possible opportunity. I will be appealing for the full support of all parties on this constructive and measured set of proposals.”