Judges Could Get To Decide Min...

News & Sport

Judges Could Get To Decide Minimum Periods When Handing Down Life Sentences

Tom Douglas
Tom Douglas

03:33 28 Mar 2022

Share this article

Judges could soon be allowed to decide minimum tariffs when handing down life sentences.

It's part of the Justice Plan for 2022, which will explore allowing judges to decide how long someone spends in prison before they can apply for parole.

As things stand, anyone given a life sentence for murder can apply to the parole board after 12 years.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee is exploring the possibility of changing that:

"It is to acknowledge that in some cases people should serve - and we're setting out clearly how people would serve a longer sentence."

"I'm very conscious, in my role as Minister for Justice, with the separation of powers my job isn't to direct in this regard."

"But it would leave it at the discretion of the judiciary, where at the moment they don't have any discretion."

Micheal Cunningham has campaigned on this issue his daughter Ciara Campbell was murdered by Gordon Molloy in Carlow in 2007

He says proposed changes are a step in the right direction:

"When we left the court we were told Molloy could apply for parole in seven years" [it has since been extended].

"You know the pain and the anguish, they're indescribable."

"It is very hard even still to talk about it at times, to find out that day that seven years down the line he'd be able to apply for parole - it was just a joke."

So we really do welcome this news today."

Share this article

Read more about

Courts Judge Life Sentence Murder