A DUBLIN BARRISTER, who works with groups representing victims of serious crime, has expressed concern about resources for providing information to them on why a criminal case has not proceeded.
In a recent presentation, Maria McDonald said Ireland had until 2015 to transpose an EU directive that would require the State to provide information and support services, as well as reasons for dropping a case to victims, including families of homicide victims.
McDonald told TheJournal.ie that the EU directive does require that “reasons should be given in all serious crimes”.
This would include information on a decision not to proceed with or to end an investigation or not to prosecute an offender. It also provides for victims of serious crimes to request a review of a decision not to prosecute.
The barrister, who has worked with organisations like the Rape Crisis Centre, Support After Homicide and Advocates for Victims of Homicide, said that while the DPP’s office is “doing its best”, it “doesn’t have the resources” to provide this service.
She said this kind of information was “imperative” for victims who are “already going through so much pain and any bit of help and support they can get should be given”.
“It’s going to be very difficult to achieve and I think the reality is that people are going to have to request that this is done,” she said.
In response to a query from TheJournal.ie, the Department of Justice said work is currently underway on a Criminal Justice (Victims Rights) Bill that will “strengthen the rights of victims and their families” and give effect in Irish law to the directive.
“It is not possible to say at this time when the Bill will be published but we are satisfied that the deadline for transposition of the EU directive will be met,” they added.