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    Sentencing in the District Court: "Here be dragons"


    Hamilton, Claire (2005) Sentencing in the District Court: "Here be dragons". Irish Criminal Law Journal, 15 (3). pp. 9-15. ISSN 0791-539X

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    Abstract

    The dearth of raw data into sentencing practice has long been lamented in this jurisdiction, as with many other areas of the criminal justice system.1 Indeed, the paucity of information in this area recalls the hitherto neglected issue of crime rates in Ireland and its colourful depiction by Brewer etal. as an area where "here be dragons".2 This phrase, employed by latter-day cartographers to mark areas about which nothing was known, might well have equal application in the area of sentencing. In an effort to remedy this situation to some small extent and gain some insight into sentencing practice in the busiest of the criminal courts, the Irish Penal Reform Trust ("IPRT") undertook a study into sentencing patterns in Dublin District Court during the summer of 2003. The purpose of this sentencing study was twofold. First, to identify how judges use the sentencing options open to them and the patterns, if any, in their choices; and, second, to determine how often reasons are given for sentences. While the IPRT does not purport, as did Brewer et al. in their work on crime levels, to "remove the dragons" in this critical area of the criminal justice system, it was hoped that the study would, at least, serve to identify the key areas in which further research is needed. It is the aim of this article, therefore, to analyse the results of the study in the light of the available sentencing literature. In accordance with the IPRT's mandate, the focus will be on the following topics: imprisonment; community sentences; fines; inconsistency in sentencing; and the right to reasoned sentencing.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Sentencing; District Court; Irish Penal Reform Trust; IPRT;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Law
    Item ID: 6160
    Depositing User: Claire Hamilton
    Date Deposited: 27 May 2015 15:09
    Journal or Publication Title: Irish Criminal Law Journal
    Publisher: Thomson Round Hall
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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