Madam -- I wish to agree with all of Eilis O'Hanlon's comments (Sunday Independent, April 1, 2012), and I would like to add a few points of my own. The decision by Judge Martin Nolan in the "Garlic Case" contained two unusual points worthy of note.
Firstly, there was no portion of the sentence suspended for the guilty plea, as is the practice in almost all cases; and secondly when did you last see sentences in the same case run consecutively? This did enormous damage to the public's perception of justice.
It seems to me that light and suspended sentences being handed down daily are totally in favour of the criminals and do not consider the terrible damage done by these crimes to our citizens. To make matters more unacceptable, these criminals get "free legal aid" funded by the offended citizens.
Free legal aid should only be given on the following conditions -- 1: it should only be paid for by the State once and only then if the accused is found not guilty; 2: repeat offenders with a previous conviction should not get repeat free legal aid. What we have in Ireland now is State-sponsored crime. It has to stop.
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