The sentencing of a teenage boy who murdered a woman in Dublin has been adjourned today due to what a judge described as a “yawning gap” in the relevant law.
The mandatory life sentence does not apply to child murderers – but the law doesn’t specify what powers a judge has if a review is built into a longer sentence.
Following a retrial, the boy was convicted of murdering Uransetseg Tserendorj as she made her way home from work in the IFSC during a lockdown two years ago.
He was just 14 years old at the time, so he can never be identified.
Mandatory life sentences don’t apply to child murderers. In the past, they’ve been given sentences with built-in review dates.
In this case, Mr Justice Tony Hunt wanted to hand down a life sentence with a review after thirteen years.
He told the court, however, that the law does not address what powers a judge has when that date comes around – something he described as a “yawning gap” in the legislation.
As it stands, it is unclear whether a reviewing judge in thirteen years could suspend the rest of, or a portion of, the boy’s remaining sentence.
Judge Hunt said the “time is ripe” for a review of the law and agreed to adjourn sentencing for a fortnight to give the defence time to consider the issue.