Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., and Minister of State Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, T.D., announce passage of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2018
20 February 2019
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., and Minister of State Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, T.D., have this afternoon announced that the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2018 has passed all stages in the Oireachtas.
The Bill introduces presumptive minimum sentences for repeat sex offenders. It also corrects an anomaly in the law of incest by equalising the penalty for incest where it is committed by a man or a woman.
Speaking about the Bill’s passage, Minister Flanagan said “I am very pleased that this Bill has now been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas. By introducing presumptive minimum sentencing provisions for repeat sex offenders, we are recognising the impact these devastating crimes have on victims and on society as a whole.”
Minister of State Moran added “I am delighted that this Bill has been passed today and I am heartened by the broad support it has received in the Houses. I believe this is an important measure that needs to be taken and I thank Minister Flanagan for having taken forward the proposals introduced by me in a Private Members’ Bill.”
Note for Editors
The main purposes of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill are to:
- Introduce stricter penalties for repeat sexual offenders
- Equalise the maximum penalties for incest at 10 years for both male and female offenders.
The revised penalties for repeat sexual offenders are based on proposals brought forward by Minister of State Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran last year which were contained in the Criminal Justice (Commission of Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2017.
The Bill provides that where an offender is convicted of a sexual offence listed in a new Schedule to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and is sentenced to imprisonment for a period of at least 5 years and is subsequently – within a period of 10 years – convicted of a further offence listed in the new Schedule, the court shall, when imposing sentence for that offence, specify the minimum term of imprisonment to be served by the person.
The minimum period of imprisonment proposed is three quarters of the maximum term of imprisonment prescribed by law in respect of such an offence and, where the maximum term is life imprisonment, the minimum proposed is a term of not less than 10 years imprisonment. However, the court will have discretion not to apply the minimum sentence if it is satisfied that this would be disproportionate in all the circumstances of the case.
The Bill also contains amendments to the Punishment of Incest Act 1908 in order to equalise the penalty for incest at 10 years imprisonment for offences by both males and females.