Mandatory sentencing: A question of judgment
Two decades after its introduction, debate continues about whether the ten-year minimum term for drugs offences is an effective deterrent or a blunt instrument
It’s been 20 years since the Oireachtas introduced a mandatory minimum sentencing regime for serious drugs offences following a spike in organised crime in the 1990s.
The murder of journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996 prompted the government to establish the Criminal Assets Bureau and introduce the Proceeds of Crime and Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) acts. Three years later, a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence was introduced for anyone caught with more than IR£10,000 (€13,000) worth of drugs.
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