Liam Herrick: Not all crimes are equal so one size doesn't fit all in sentencing
A basic principle of our justice system is that individuals should be punished in proportion to the seriousness of the offence they have committed.
Judges should be consistent in how they weigh up the circumstances of a crime, aggravating and mitigating, but not all crimes should result in the same penalty. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws are a direct challenge to that.
Introduced on a large scale in the US legal system in the 1980s, until relatively recently, there were only a few mandatory sentencing laws in Ireland: the life sentence for murder, aggravated murder and treason, and disqualification from driving for drunk driving.