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Monday, June 25, 2012
The DPP, Claire Loftus, called last May for reform of pre-trial procedures.
Even in instances where 90% of defendants ultimately plead guilty, there is a lead period at the Central Criminal Court of a least a year and nearly a year in the Circuit Court.
Pre-trial procedures in such cases could clearly be speeded up, because issues could be disposed of without being left to the trial. The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland has welcomed Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s announcement that a pilot scheme will be introduced to speed up cases in the Central Criminal Court from October.
The average delay from the time of return to trial and the actual trial in rape cases has been over 16 months. In some cases this has stretched into years, during which victims felt unable to get on with their lives. This became a factor in the decision of some victims not to report the crime.
Legal practitioners often tend to drag on cases and hearings. This may be of financial benefit to them, but it undermines proper justice. Hence the proposed changes, which are designed to reduce delays, should be welcomed.
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