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Ana Kriegel murder: The sentences Boy A and Boy B could be facing

The two teengers are to be sentenced in four weeks’ time.

Ana Kriegel's body was discovered in Glenwood House.
Ana Kriegel's body was discovered in Glenwood House.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE TWO TEENAGE boys convicted of the murder of Ana Kriegel are to be sentenced in four weeks’ time.

The boys, known as Boy A and Boy B, will be held in custody in Oberstown detention centre until that time.

As the two boys are children, they do not face the mandatory life sentence for murder as would be the case if they were adults. However, trial judge Justice Paul McDermott does have the discretion to hand down a life sentence. 

Relevant laws relating to how children are dealt with in the criminal justice system are contained in the Children Act, 2001.

Children under the age of 18 cannot be sent to prison; if a period of detention is handed down the child is held in a detention school or a detention centre.

If the period of detention extends beyond the child turning 18, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs can authorise the transfer to a place of detention or prison.

The act states that any penalty imposed on the child must be “the least restrictive form that is appropriate” and that detention should be imposed “only as a measure of last resort”.

“The court shall not make an order imposing a period of detention on a child unless it is satisfied that detention is the only suitable way of dealing with the child,” the act states.

If detention is deemed appropriate, the length of the sentences cannot be longer than which would be imposed “on a person of full age and capacity who is convicted of such an offence”.

In the case of Boy A and Boy B, seeing as an adult would be handed a life sentence, there is no restriction on the length of detention. 

The two boys are now the youngest convicted murderers in the history of the State and their guilt was determined following an unprecedented trial.

Despite the unprecedented nature of the trial, the judge may look to other sentences to inform his decision in this case.

One case the judge could look at is the 2005 sentencing of 15-year-old Darren Goodwin for the murder of 14-year-old Darragh Conroy in Laois.

Goodwin was found guilty and sentenced to life, however the judge used his discretion to review the sentence after ten years. In that case, the Court of Criminal Appeal upheld the life sentence. 

In 2013, Goodwin’s sentence was reviewed and he was released three years later. 

This sentence was handed down before the Children Act actually came into operation but Justice McDermott may decide to include a similar review in this case. 

As the judge has discretion, he may impose different sentences on the two boys for the murder convictions.

Boy A was also convicted of aggravated sexual assault.

Probation officer’s report

Before sentencing Boy A and Boy B, a probation officer’s report must be prepared for the judge.

Law lecturer at NUI Galway Dr. Conor Hanly explained that the report is intended to provide the judge with all the relevant information to make a decision.

“A probation report is a report by a probation officer into the child offender’s circumstances, his rearing, his family background, his educational attainment, any psychological or medical issues.”

Hanly also added that because a mandatory sentence doesn’t apply in this case, the judge will weigh the deciding factors in much the same way as a usual sentencing:

Because this isn’t a mandatory sentence, it’s discretionary, ordinary sentencing principles apply here. The court must impose a sentence under the limits of the 2001 act but also that reflect the seriousness of the crime but also the offender’s characteristics. So that’s the tightrope that the judge has to walk.

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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