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Ireland must introduce 'whole-life' sentences for extreme crimes - Rape survivor

Irish judges should have the power to hand down life sentences with no possibility of parole, acc...
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

14.47 1 Oct 2021


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Ireland must introduce 'whole-...

Ireland must introduce 'whole-life' sentences for extreme crimes - Rape survivor

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

14.47 1 Oct 2021


Share this article


Irish judges should have the power to hand down life sentences with no possibility of parole, according to a rape survivor.

It comes after former London Police officer Wayne Couzens was handed a ‘whole life order’ for raping and murdering 33-year-old Sarah Everard in South London last year.

It means he will spend the rest of his life in prison and will not be considered for early release or parole.

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Ireland has no such sentence in law and the average time spent in prison under a life sentence here is 18 years.

Rape survivor Debbie Cole told Newstalk that harsher sentences are needed.

“I think it definitely should be that the judges have the authority to say this person is going into prison and they are not coming out until they die,” she said.

“I mean, that law was fine 100 years ago but considering the level of crimes we are seeing in Ireland, it is just ridiculous the laws in our country have not caught up with the level of crimes that are being committed.”

She said the sentence should be available to judges in extreme cases.

“I think for a situation like that Sarah Everard case, I think it definitely should be life,” she said.

“Without parole, without release, no time off for good behaviour. You are going in and you are not coming out until the undertaker picks you up.

“It should be the same for repeat sex offenders because they are showing that they are not rehabilitated.”

New legislation that came into force in August means the minimum amount of time a life sentence prisoner must spend behind bars in Ireland is 12 years.

While the average time spent in prison is 18 years, there are prisoners in Ireland who have served more than 30 years in custody.

In the UK, Home Secretaries have had the power to order whole-life sentences since 1983. The powers were passed the judiciary in 2003.

At the end of June, there were 60 whole-life prisoners in England and Wales – including the likes of Rosemary West, Myra Hindley and Peter Sutcliffe.

 


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