Sentencing policy back in the spotlight

Calls for mandatory sentences fail to take into account individual circumstances of defendants, writes Kieron Wood.

27th January, 2013
Mr Justice Paul Carney: the O'Brien case has led to calls for mandatory sentences for rape. Photo: Courtpix

Mr Justice Paul Carney's effective three-year prison sentence for a father who raped his daughter resulted in a chorus of calls for mandatory sentencing, Oireachtas intervention and the judge's resignation.

Carney last week sentenced 72-year-old Patrick O'Brien, of Bray, Co Wicklow, to 12 years' imprisonment with nine years suspended for raping and sexually assaulting his daughter, Fiona Doyle.

O'Brien was bailed pending an appeal, but the bail was rescinded last Thursday, and the judge expressed "profound...

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