'Celine's law' to prevent spouse-killers profiting
Published 24/07/2015 | 02:30
Murderers will see their share of the assets owned with the spouse or partner who they killed reduced significantly under proposed new laws.
At present, the murderer is entitled to half the assets held by the couple, such as the family home, pensions, shares and life insurance. A spouse who kills a partner is treated the same as any other widow or widower.
Judges will be able to cut the killer's half under a proposal by the Law Reform Commission.
The courts will be afforded discretion to dilute the offender's 50pc share where assets were co-owned if the victim's family fights for full ownership.
The draft law, dubbed 'Celine's law,' comes in the wake of a five-year legal battle waged by the family of the late Celine Cawley, who was killed by her husband Eamon Lillis.
Lillis left prison this year following his sentence for manslaughter with more than €1m in assets, including his share of the family home he shared with his wife.
Chris Cawley, Ms Cawley's brother, welcomed the plan but said it did not go far enough.
"In other countries, if you kill someone, you lose all interest in the joint assets and for obvious reasons," he told the Irish Independent.
The report comes as Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald unveils new laws to tackle domestic violence and online stalking.