Department of Justice official says criminals re-offending after getting bail
The Department of Justice believes members of the judiciary do not view burglary as a serious offence.
A senior department official pointed to cases where burglary suspects were arrested but given bail, only to go on and offend again. The remarks will reignite debate over whether the judiciary is taking a tough enough stance against serial burglary suspects.
Jimmy Martin, a member of the department's management board, said: "Our perception is that the judiciary didn't view burglary as a serious offence."
He said that although burglary was classed as a serious offence, it was dealt with in the first instance at the district court, which normally deals with lesser crimes.
Mr Martin made the comments while being quizzed by TDs over Government measures aimed at tackling the burglary epidemic around the country.
"We have a particular difficulty with burglary where the evidence of the guards suggests there were a lot of burglars who were effectively professional criminals ... They would be arrested, charged, released on bail, then commit more burglaries, and be released again."
Mr Martin told the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that while it was feared judges had treated burglary as a non-serious offence, the department was not in a position to confirm this, due to the separation of powers.
Meanwhile, officials said there were no plans to introduce widespread electronic tagging of individuals out on bail.
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