Thursday 14 December 2017

Editorial: Message must go out that nobody is above the law

Gavel on a book
Gavel on a book

The sentencing of former solicitor Thomas Byrne to 16 years in prison (with four suspended) is surely a timely and much needed signal that white-collar crime should not pay. With some notable exceptions, the professional classes have largely been spared the fate of "ordinary decent criminals".

With Byrne, a solicitor who was convicted of stealing €52m from banks and defrauding 13 clients out of houses and money, we now hopefully have a signal that we are living in an Ireland where the crime, rather than the class of criminal, matters most.

Byrne (47) was sentenced to nine years for crimes related to theft from banks and seven years for the fraudulent theft of property. Unfortunately for some of those who were tricked out of their property, there may not be any redress, although the Law Society has paid €7.2m to victims of Byrne out of its compensation fund.

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