Monday 26 September 2016

Renua: Tougher sentences key to crackdown on white-collar crime

Published 08/02/2016 | 02:30

Lucinda Creighton. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Lucinda Creighton. Photo: Gerry Mooney

WHITE-Collar criminals would no longer be able to rely on "previous good character" to get a lighter sentence, according to law changes tabled by Renua Ireland.

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Lucinda Creighton's party has signalled a radical toughening of the law in relation to white-collar crime. Proposals include giving a portion of the money recovered from offenders to whistleblowers who helped unmask and convict them in the courts.

A party official said the entire legal and court system effectively gave "well-connected people" much better treatment than traditional criminals. Many of these people come from poorer sections of society and get much harsher sentences.

Renua Ireland proposes changes to sentencing guidelines in dealing with people convicted of white-collar crime. The new guidelines would not allow first offenders to fall back on previous good character to mitigate the penalties they face.

Other changes would include making "reckless lending" a criminal offence carrying heavy penalties in extreme cases. Criminal sanctions would also be imposed upon company directors engaged in reckless trading, and pleading ignorance of what was going on would not be an acceptable defence.

"We will also provide incentives along the lines of the American system, where whistleblowers are accorded a percentage of asset seizures," the Renua spokesman told the Irish Independent. The party is urging a cultural shift in attitudes.

Irish Independent

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