Cabinet approves plan for minimum sentences for repeat sexual offenders

The bill would also make the penalty for incest equal for men and women

Cabinet approves plan for minimum sentences for repeat sexual offenders

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan | Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Cabinet has approved a new bill proposing a form of minimum sentencing for repeat sexual offenders.

The bill is set to be debated in the Dáil in the autumn.

The Bill was introduced by Minister of State Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, who has said he is confident it will help address concerns over repeat offenders by “introducing stricter penalties.”

The bill will come into force for anyone who is convicted of a sexual offence within ten years of being sentenced to five years or more for a previous sexual offence.

Under the bill, the minimum sentence available to the court would be three quarters of maximum term for the crime.

Where the highest sentence possible is life in prison – a minimum jail term of ten years would apply.

However, the judge would retain the discretion not to hand down the minimum sentence if they felt it would be “disproportionate to the circumstances of the case.”

Announcing the Cabinet approval this evening, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said: “Sexual offences are among the most serious crimes faced by our society, and the effect on victims is devastating.

“This Bill forms part of a Government commitment to strengthen the law in this area through the introduction of stronger sentencing provisions.”

The bill would also make the penalty for incest equal at 10 years imprisonment for both men and women.

Under current laws, women receive a more lenient sentence than men in cases of incest.

With reporting from Sean Defoe ...