THE DECISION BY a judge in Dublin to hand down a 12 year sentence with nine years suspended to a man who admitted to raping his daughter over the course of ten years has caused controversy.
Justice Paul Carney said 72-year-old Patrick O’Brien’s serious medical condition as well as his expression of remorse and good behaviour were mitigating factors in releasing him on bail pending an appeal in what was the latest in a series of high profile cases involving sexual assault where sentencing has been criticised.
Yesterday Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said the sentence was ‘completely unacceptable’ but Justice Minister Alan Shatter said last year he would “not favour an undue interference in the independence of the judiciary” by reviewing statutory sentencing. He said that more detailed requirements on sentencing procedure could lead to mistakes and result in sentences being open to challenge on technical grounds.
But what do you think? Should the government conduct a review of statutory sentencing for sexual assaults?