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DIARY NOTICE: Sentencing Guidelines and the work of the Sentencing Council – ‘promoting greater consistency in sentencing’

24th August 2012

DIARY NOTICE

 IPRT Annual Lecture, 20 Sept 2012

The Irish Penal Reform Trust is delighted to announce that the 2012 IPRT Annual Lecture – Sentencing Guidelines and the Sentencing Council: ‘promoting greater consistency in sentencing’ – will be delivered by The Honourable Mr Justice Colman Treacy of the High Court of England and Wales. The event takes place from 6-8pm on Thursday, 20th September, 2012 in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin 8.

This timely lecture comes at a time when a number of critical issues face the Irish penal system, not least those relating to sentencing. For several years, IPRT has identified the issue of mandatory and presumptive sentencing as a key factor in the dramatic increase in our prison population over the last decade. At the same time, concern is often voiced in the media and in public discourse on crime about a perceived problem of inconsistency in sentencing  – and in particular, a perceived problem with unduly lenient sentences sometimes being imposed for serious crimes.

IPRT believes that greater transparency and consistency in sentencing can be achieved, while at the same time ensuring the independence of the judiciary.

To this end,IPRT has invited The Honourable Mr Justice Colman Treacy to Dublin to speak on the work of the Sentencing Council of England and Wales. An independent, non-departmental public body of the Ministry of Justice, the Sentencing Council produces guidelines on sentencing for the judiciary and aims to increase public understanding of sentencing. The event will be chaired by The Hon. Mr. Justice Paul McDermott, Judge of the Irish High Court.

The event forms part of the work of IPRT in the area of sentencing reform. Previous actions include papers and submissions on mandatory sentencing, and community sanctions; forthcoming publications include a comprehensive position paper (due October 2012) on reform of parole, temporary release and remission.

The 2012 IPRT Annual lecture takes place on Thursday, 20th September, 2012 from 6-8pm in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin 8. This event is kindly sponsored by KOD Lyons: www.kodlyons.ie

For all media enquiries, please contact:

Fíona Ní Chinnéide, Communications Officer, Irish Penal Reform Trust: +353 87 135 4107

1. IPRT Annual lecture | 20th Sept 2012

The event takes place Thursday 20th September, 2012 from 6-8pm in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin 8. To register, contact Mary Gaffney at info@iprt.ie or call 01-8741400. More details here: http://www.iprt.ie/contents/2372

2. Sentencing Council (UK) | sentencingcouncil.judiciary.gov.uk

The Sentencing Council for England and Wales promotes greater consistency in sentencing, whilst maintaining the independence of the judiciary. An independent, non-departmental public body of the Ministry of Justice, the Council produces guidelines on sentencing for the judiciary and aims to increase public understanding of sentencing.

The Sentencing Council has responsibility for:

  • developing sentencing guidelines and monitoring their use;
  • assessing the impact of guidelines on sentencing practice. It may also be required to consider the impact of policy and legislative proposals relating to sentencing, when requested by the Government; and
  • promoting awareness amongst the public regarding the realities of sentencing and publishing information regarding sentencing practice in Magistrates’ and Crown courts.

In addition to the functions above, the Council must:

  • consider the impact of sentencing decisions on victims
  • monitor the application of the guidelines, better to predict the effect of them; and
  • play a greater part in promoting understanding of, and increasing public confidence in, sentencing and the criminal justice system.

3. Biographies

Sir Colman Maurice Treacy, The Hon. Mr Justice Treacy was called to the Bar in 1971. He practised from chambers in Birmingham and was head of chambers from 1994 to 2000. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1990, a Recorder in 1991 and to the High Court Bench in 2002. He was Presiding Judge on the midland circuit from 2006 to 2009. As a High Court Judge he has sat in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, the Divisional Court, the Queen’s Bench Division, and the Administrative Court and is a Visitor to the Inns of Court. In July 2012, the Queen approved Judge Treacy's appointment as a Lord Justice of Appeal to take effect from October 2012.

The Hon. Mr. Justice Paul McDermott, Judge of the Irish High Court, was educated at University College Dublin and King’s Inns and called to the Bar in 1980 and to the Inner Bar in 1999.  He has published a textbook on Prison Law (1981) (with Raymond Byrne and Gerard Hogan) and acted as consultant editor of Martin McDonnell’s Misuse of Drugs – Criminal Offences and Penalties (2010).  He also served as Chair of the Expert Group to advise on Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights. He was appointed to the High Court in May 2012.

4. Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) | www.iprt.ie

IPRT is Ireland's leading non-governmental organisation campaigning for the rights of everyone in prison and the progressive reform of Irish penal policy, with prison as a last resort.

Previous speakers at the IPRT Annual Lecture include the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter TD; Dame Anne Owers, HM Inspector of Prisons; and Professor Nils Christie, world renowned criminologist.

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