Wednesday 26 April 2017

We need a proper debate on life sentences – before it's too late

A life sentence is mandatory for certain crimes such as murder and judges have no discretion, regardless of the circumstances.
A life sentence is mandatory for certain crimes such as murder and judges have no discretion, regardless of the circumstances.

James McDermott

Perhaps the most practical approach to sentencing was that adopted by Brendan Behan who observed: "I was court-martialled in my absence, and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence."

Following the complete abolition of the death penalty in Ireland in 1990, a life sentence – such as that imposed on the murderers of Limerick businessman Roy Collins earlier this week – is the most severe punishment that can be handed down.

A life sentence is mandatory for certain crimes such as murder and judges have no discretion, regardless of the circumstances.

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