Saturday 19 October 2019

'Celine's Law' at risk of being 'struck down'


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Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A legal expert will today warn that 'Celine's Law' - a bid to block killers benefiting from their crime - could be rejected as unconstitutional.

Professor John Mee is expected to tell TDs and senators that some aspects of the proposed law "goes too far in stripping them of property and risks being struck down".

He is to make the remarks as the Oireachtas Justice Committee examines the legislation put forward by Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan.

It's been dubbed 'Celine's Law' after production company owner Celine Cawley, who was killed by her husband Eamonn Lillis. It came after Lillis, despite being convicted of manslaughter, maintained he was entitled to ownership of assets he jointly held with his wife, including homes in Dublin and France. Lillis ultimately won the right to a 50pc share of Irish assets following a High Court ruling.

The family of murdered Clodagh Hawe have also recently been outspoken in their calls for changes.

In his opening statement to the committee, Mr Mee, a professor at UCC's Law School, is to say that the bill has "many positive aspects but also needs significant improvement in a number of areas".

He says: "In some respects it is too generous to killers, and in others it goes too far in stripping them of property and risks being struck down as unconstitutional.

"There are also various problems with the drafting that could lead to unintended consequences."

Irish Independent

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