Legal ‘poor box’ system: Risible at best

OUR legal system has many quaint and strange traditions but none moreso than the practise by judges to allow a guilty person to avoid a criminal conviction by ‘donating’ a sum of money to the court’s own ‘poor box.’

While the charities and causes that benefit from this obscure system would lament its passing, there is no real justification for retaining a practice that relies soley on the discretion of a judge as to who the money should go to.

According to the Courts Service, in the region of €1.3m was allocated in this fashion last year, a significant drop on 2014 but a substantial amount nonetheless.

The poor box system is, at best, risible; at worst, it allows judges to dispense justice in a haphazard and capricious manner and gives the dangerous impression that the guilty party has somehow got away with it.

It makes a mockery of a justice system that already has enough failings.

There is no justification for retaining this bizarre system of justice it and it should be scrapped immediately.


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