Sunday 21 January 2018

Special Criminal Court is needed to protect public

The Special Criminal Court. Photo: Collins
The Special Criminal Court. Photo: Collins


Democrats who support the rule of law would far prefer that we did not need the Special Criminal Court (SCC). But the bitter experience of past decades shows we need it to fight against the intimidation of juries and the terrorising of witnesses.

Trial by jury is the cornerstone of our justice system and setting it aside requires careful thought and some checks and balances.

We use the SCC when the ordinary courts are deemed inadequate to secure the administration of justice and the preservation of public peace and order. The Court's current manifestation has been with us since 1972, a dark time in Irish history when a vortex of violence caused horror and heartbreak and also threatened the democratic institutions of this State.

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