Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
432. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the recent decision by the courts to suspend a sentence of imprisonment on a member of An Garda Síochána found guilty of a serious assault charge; and if he proposes any legislative changes to reinforce in practice the principle of equality of all citizens before the law, including in terms of sentencing policy. [15673/11]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The Deputy will appreciate that judges are independent in the matter of sentencing as they are in other matters concerning the exercise of judicial functions, subject only to the Constitution and the law. Therefore, I cannot comment or intervene in any way on the conduct or decision of any individual case which is a matter entirely for the presiding judge.
I should add that the Criminal Justice Act 1993 (as amended by section 23 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006) provides that the Director of Public Prosecutions may, where it appears to him that a sentence imposed by a court for a crime on indictment is unduly lenient, apply to the Court of Criminal Appeal to review the sentence. The Director of Public Prosecutions is, of course, independent in the carrying out of his functions.
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