Law governing suspended sentences declared unconstitutional

Urgent legislation likely to be needed

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Central Criminal Court, Dublin

A High Court judge has declared the law allowing courts to activate suspended sentences to be unconstitutional.  

The ruling has serious implications for the criminal justice system as a whole.

Mr Justice Michael Moriarty declared Section 99 of the 2006 Criminal Justice Act as unconstitutional, partly because it allows for significantly different treatment of people before the law, in relation to their rights of appeal.

Striking down the section will affect the criminal justice system from the District Court to the Central Criminal Court.

It is likely that legislation will have to be brought in urgently to deal with the situation.

The section, which has been amended twice already, has often drawn the ire of judges.