Thursday 21 September 2017

Eilis O'Hanlon: Sometimes, there should be no more second chances

Liberal sympathy for criminals is, in fact, the ultimate in heartlessness, not compassion.

SOME ACTS CANNOT BE UNDONE: Jill Meagher, who was raped and murdered in Melbourne while on her way home after a night out
SOME ACTS CANNOT BE UNDONE: Jill Meagher, who was raped and murdered in Melbourne while on her way home after a night out

Eilis O'Hanlon

What do you call a 12 to 15-year sentence for murder? A good start. Now keep pouring on more years until we say "when". Which, in some cases, we might not say at all. Then we can see about taking a similarly tough approach to other offences.

That's most ordinary people's attitude to serious crime. Unfortunately, that's not the approach of the legal establishment, where 12 to 15 years is the norm rather than the lenient exception. Some would even deny that it's lenient at all. Dara Robinson, a solicitor with Sheehan and Partners, told RTE's Drivetime that 12 to 15 years was a "pretty long time in jail".

Is it? Really? My daughter has just finished her Leaving Cert. Twelve years ago, she was six. It only feels like yesterday.

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