Thursday, 8 March 2018

Ceisteanna (186)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

186. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans for mandatory sentences for persons that break in and burgle homes especially those of elderly persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10871/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The law already treats burglary very seriously. For burglary, the maximum penalty is 14 years' imprisonment, and for aggravated burglary, a sentence of up to life imprisonment can be imposed. In 2015, the law in this area was further strengthened by the introduction of legislation targeting repeat offenders. The Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Act 2015 seeks to ensure that persons awaiting trial for burglary of a dwelling who have recent convictions or pending charges for domestic burglaries can be denied bail in appropriate cases. The Act also provides for consecutive sentences for prolific burglars of dwellings. In addition, the Criminal Justice Act 2007 provides for presumptive minimum sentences for certain repeat offences in certain circumstances. The offences to which these presumptive minimum sentences apply include aggravated burglary. In deciding the sentence to be imposed in a particular case, a court will take into account the mitigating and aggravating factors, including the vulnerability of the victim.

On mandatory sentences, I am mindful that there are differing views. The Law Reform Commission and the Strategic Review of Penal Policy have made recommendations against mandatory sentences and their views are always considered seriously. However, I will continue to keep the law in this area under review.