High Court ruling on suspended sentences 'of limited effect'

High Court ruling on suspended sentences 'of limited effect'

The impact of today's High Court ruling on suspended sentences is not as serious as first believed, writes Daniel McConnell of the Irish Examiner.

Earlier today, the High Court declared unconstitiutional the law governing the power of the courts to activate suspended sentences.

Officially the Department of Justice are saying they are reviewing the judgement and wouldn't comment any further.

However, sources have informed the Irish Examiner that the judgement's effect is not as serious as first thought as it only affects a small number of people.

"It is of limited effect. The only category of people likely to be affected are those who have had suspended sentences recently reactivated as a result of a triggering offence.

"So not serious offences by and large and people who would have been at liberty beforehand given they received a suspended sentence," the source said.

While there was no number put on how many cases are affected, the source suggested the numbers are thought to be quite small.

Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins urged the Minster for Justice to bring forward new legislation as a matter of urgency.

He said: "It is very clear from the judgement that the operation of Section 99 has been fraught with difficulty and has attracted so much adverse commentary from judges that I very much doubt that an appeal to a higher court would be successful."


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