Irish Law Updates

Friday, October 05, 2007

Mandatory Life Sentences, the Constitution and the ECHR

RTE is reporting that a challenge to the mandatory life sentence has been rejected:

Challenges to life sentences rejected Friday, 5 October 2007 16:20

"Two convicted murderers have lost their High Court challenge to the constitutionality of the mandatory life sentence for murder.

They are 25-year-old Peter Whelan, who was jailed for life in 2002 for the murder of Cork student Nicola Sweeney, and 30-year-old Paul Lynch, who pleaded guilty in 1997 to the murder of Donegal pensioner, William Campbell.

Each claimed the sentence breached their rights under the Constitution and under the European Convention of Human Rights.

The two men claimed the mandatory life sentence interfered with the role of the judiciary and offended the independence of the judiciary enshrined in the Consitution.

They also claimed their rights under the Convention were breached because they have no way of knowing how or when they are likely to be released.

The case could have had implications for more than 250 people serving life sentences for murder in Ireland.

But Ms Justice Mary Irvine rejected the men's claims on all grounds."

The full story is here.

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