Sunday 17 November 2019

Spouse-killers can't profit under new bill

Eamon Lillis
Eamon Lillis

Sam Griffin

A new bill to prevent people who kill their spouses from profiting from their crime will be published today.

The law, called the Succession (Amendment) Bill 2015, has been drawn up by Senator Feargal Quinn and follows on from a number of high-profile cases, including the manslaughter of Celine Cawley by her husband Eamon Lillis in 2008.

In this case, Lillis co-owned the couple's home at Windgate Road on Howth Hill where his late wife was discovered bludgeoned to death with a brick.

Following conviction, the High Court subsequently found Lillis was entitled to half of the property, with the other half to be held in trust for the couple's daughter.

However, the court also recommended the law be reviewed.

Senator Quinn's bill provides that where one joint tenant kills another, the offender will have no entitlement to the victim's share in the property.

In addition, the offender will be denied the opportunity to avail of his or her own share in the property.

In those circumstances, the victim's interest in the property and the offender's interest in the property will both pass to the estate of the victim.

Senator Quinn said the idea that a person should not be allowed to profit from a crime "is a well-known tenet of our criminal justice system" and is a principle "which needs to be far more strongly reflected in Irish law".

He has called on Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to support the bill when it comes before the Seanad next Wednesday.

Figures show that since 1996, 206 women have been murdered in their home in Ireland.

Irish Independent

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