New court of appeal poll date
JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has promised that the proposed new appeals court will be able to deal speedily with lenient sentences for criminals.
Voters will be asked to decide on setting up the new Court of Appeal as well as the abolition of the Seanad in a double-header referendum on Friday, October 4. Mr Shatter pointed out that the new court would take over the work of the Court of Criminal Appeal, which has a 15-month waiting list.
"If the Director of Public Prosecutions believes that a sentence is too lenient, this measure will ensure the issue of leniency will be addressed with speed," he said.
The new court is also designed to take the pressure off the Supreme Court, which is telling new applicants that it will not be able to hear their cases until 2017.
In future, a person who wants to appeal a High Court verdict will go to the new Court of Appeal – and then on to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court will only deal directly with High Court appeals "in exceptional circumstances".
The bill passed through the Seanad yesterday after getting support from Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and independent senators.
Mr Shatter joked that he was "overwhelmed with all the love" after even Fianna Fail Seanad leader Darragh O'Brien described him as an "effective and reforming justice minister".