A NEW REPORT on the variation of prison sentences given to people convicted of robberies has found the sentencing to be broadly consistent – while over a fifth of convictions lead to jail terms of five years or more.
While almost half of all convictions for robbery in the last three years attracted sentences of three years or less, a small number of cases attracted jail terms of over ten years, according to the report from the Irish Sentencing Information System.
The sentences imposed in the last three years range from a suspended sentence, for the most minor offences, up to 12 years for being responsible for the most traumatic experience for the victim.
The report says the relatively modern phenomenon of ‘tiger kidnappings’ have attracted the highest sentences, and outlines a series of factors which have been taken into account as aggravating or mitigating factors in handing down a sentence.
In one case, two people were given prison sentences of 25 years for their roles in a tiger kidnapping, though their convictions have since been quashed and a retrial ordered.
Among the reasons someone may get a longer sentence are previous convictions, the use of a weapon, a lack of remorse, injury to the victim, the use of violence, and the wearing of a disguise.
By comparison, the sentence can be mitigated if there are no other previous convictions, the perpetrator shows remorse and co-operates with Gardaí, has difficult personal circumstances, enters an early guilty plea, or is young.
Notably, the report finds that those who are themselves members of the Gardaí are likely to have their sentence mitigated, because of the particular difficulties that Gardaí face as prison inmates.
The report is the third published this year by the Irish Sentencing Information System; previous reports examined sentencing in rape and manslaughter cases.
The system’s work is intended to act as an informal reference for those in the judicial system to understand the typical sentence that might be handed down for particular offences.