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Thread: Compensation in sex assault cases

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    Politics.ie Member bactrian's Avatar
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    Default Compensation in sex assault cases

    There is a report in the Irish Times

    Compensation in sex assault cases can yield inconsistent sentencing - Crime & Law News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times - Thu, Apr 11, 2013

    on a speech made by Mr Justice Peter Charleton on the issue of compensation as a mitigating factor in sentencing for sexual assault crimes.

    I did not know, and was shocked and disgusted to find out that

    " “Compensation is tied in by legislation as a mitigating factor in sentencing. The sexual assault study questions very seriously how this can be wise.
    “If money can be raised by the accused, the legislation says that it can be a mitigating factor but if it cannot be raised because the accused and his family are poor, where reasonably does justice stand?” "


    The report goes on

    " The judge said that while a victim of violence was entitled to civil compensation, the fact that the accused could pay, and sometimes offered to pay on the basis that their sentence be reduced, “adds a complicating factor because it is not standard . . . but a matter of mitigation that can divert a judge from a proper approach to sentencing. "

    I have often been angered to read of reduced sentences being handed down to sexual assault offenders who had paid compensation and have felt that such reductions were inappropriate. I have always blamed the judge and wondered "How could he think that just because compensation has been paid the crime has been somewhat lessened?" Now I know that the judge's hands are tied and a lesser sentence must be imposed.

    We really need to change the legislation
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    It's a bit like buying indulgences in the Roman Catholic Church in the old days. If you can pay, you can get off (well, almost) a la Anthony Lyons, the guy who was turned into a sexual predator by cough mixture, cholesterol tablets and alcohol.

    You are correct that the law ought to be changed. Wouldn't you think that would make a nice little project for our wonderful Justice Minister, a supposed expert in the law?

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    Politics.ie Member NewGoldDream's Avatar
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    Compensation may be very appropriate in assault cases and should be a mitigating factor.

    If a person gets a dig and say sustains a fractured cheek after a fight, the reality is that he may find it almost impossible to bring a civil case. They are notoriously difficult, they end up with a "he said this and he pushed him back and he raised his hand and the other guy slapped him and I reacted in self defence" routine. Even if the Court awards damages, there is no reality to collecting in most cases, the Defendants are not a mark. Many practitioners will tell clients to see if the criminal Courts will require the Defendant to cough up, and that's about as good as they can hope for realistically unless they want to fire money at Solicitors and Barristers and end up with bills. It's not really about paying to get out of jail, it's about a realistic way of ensuring that a victim gets some real benefit. They are not always reached for at all, but I think it would be inappropriate to limit the options open to the Courts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Auld Cynic View Post
    It's a bit like buying indulgences in the Roman Catholic Church in the old days. If you can pay, you can get off (well, almost) a la Anthony Lyons, the guy who was turned into a sexual predator by cough mixture, cholesterol tablets and alcohol.

    You are correct that the law ought to be changed. Wouldn't you think that would make a nice little project for our wonderful Justice Minister, a supposed expert in the law?


    The Lyons case has popped up on the radar again today via the DPP and one Caroline Biggs who told the Appeal Court that the trial judge failed to take into account "the gravity of the offence".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radix View Post
    The Lyons case has popped up on the radar again today via the DPP and one Caroline Biggs who told the Appeal Court that the trial judge failed to take into account "the gravity of the offence".
    Anyone now where this case stands --- a judge in the trial became seriously ill and there was speculation about a retrial

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    Quote Originally Posted by bactrian View Post
    There is a report in the Irish Times

    Compensation in sex assault cases can yield inconsistent sentencing - Crime & Law News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times - Thu, Apr 11, 2013

    on a speech made by Mr Justice Peter Charleton on the issue of compensation as a mitigating factor in sentencing for sexual assault crimes.

    I did not know, and was shocked and disgusted to find out that

    " “Compensation is tied in by legislation as a mitigating factor in sentencing. The sexual assault study questions very seriously how this can be wise.
    “If money can be raised by the accused, the legislation says that it can be a mitigating factor but if it cannot be raised because the accused and his family are poor, where reasonably does justice stand?” "


    The report goes on

    " The judge said that while a victim of violence was entitled to civil compensation, the fact that the accused could pay, and sometimes offered to pay on the basis that their sentence be reduced, “adds a complicating factor because it is not standard . . . but a matter of mitigation that can divert a judge from a proper approach to sentencing. "

    I have often been angered to read of reduced sentences being handed down to sexual assault offenders who had paid compensation and have felt that such reductions were inappropriate. I have always blamed the judge and wondered "How could he think that just because compensation has been paid the crime has been somewhat lessened?" Now I know that the judge's hands are tied and a lesser sentence must be imposed.

    We really need to change the legislation

    Just goes to show how ''seriously'' the stupid judges see sexual assault of women.
    Ah, sure a few bob will see her alright and help her forget all about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bactrian View Post
    There is a report in the Irish Times

    Compensation in sex assault cases can yield inconsistent sentencing - Crime & Law News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times - Thu, Apr 11, 2013

    on a speech made by Mr Justice Peter Charleton on the issue of compensation as a mitigating factor in sentencing for sexual assault crimes.

    I did not know, and was shocked and disgusted to find out that

    " “Compensation is tied in by legislation as a mitigating factor in sentencing. The sexual assault study questions very seriously how this can be wise.
    “If money can be raised by the accused, the legislation says that it can be a mitigating factor but if it cannot be raised because the accused and his family are poor, where reasonably does justice stand?” "


    The report goes on

    " The judge said that while a victim of violence was entitled to civil compensation, the fact that the accused could pay, and sometimes offered to pay on the basis that their sentence be reduced, “adds a complicating factor because it is not standard . . . but a matter of mitigation that can divert a judge from a proper approach to sentencing. "

    I have often been angered to read of reduced sentences being handed down to sexual assault offenders who had paid compensation and have felt that such reductions were inappropriate. I have always blamed the judge and wondered "How could he think that just because compensation has been paid the crime has been somewhat lessened?" Now I know that the judge's hands are tied and a lesser sentence must be imposed.

    We really need to change the legislation
    Better still, sack the macho, ignorant judges and educate those who are coming after them.

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    Politics.ie Member Mushroom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayoonmymind View Post
    Just goes to show how ''seriously'' the stupid judges see sexual assault of women.
    Ah, sure a few bob will see her alright and help her forget all about it.
    Am I wrong in thinking that if the victim refuses the offer of compensation then it isn't taken into account when it comes to the sentencing? If so, then it's partially her call whether or not the convicted will get a reduced sentence.

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    Politics.ie Member Clanrickard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayoonmymind View Post
    Just goes to show how ''seriously'' the stupid judges see sexual assault of women.
    Ah, sure a few bob will see her alright and help her forget all about it.
    I think it is up to the victim whether or not to take the dosh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loner View Post
    Anyone now where this case stands --- a judge in the trial became seriously ill and there was speculation about a retrial


    Not close to the case, so don't know.


    Quote Originally Posted by mayoonmymind View Post
    Just goes to show how ''seriously'' the stupid judges see sexual assault of women.
    Ah, sure a few bob will see her alright and help her forget all about it.



    Again not sure of how this works, but one could assume two identical hypothetical assault cases where one defendant is penniless, and the other has some means. To my mind, if the second hypothetical defendant is offering financial compensation as part of remorseful recompense, then surely this could be put to the offended party as part of 'the package' of justice, which he/she can accept/reject.

    On rejection of this, both offenders would still serve similar sentences as provided for by law, and if financial recompense is accepted in the second hypothetical case, then the plaintiff/offended party, must accept this as a mitigating factor in reducing the length of the proposed custodial sentence of the perpetrator with means, under law, since this is also of 'a cost' to the defendant.

    'Justice' can never be seen as 'black and white' in such a scenario.

    One alternative of course is to deny the offended party the possibility of direct compensation even when the means for same exists. Another is to insist upon it anyway. And finally, we always have the option of State Compensation towards offended parties, regardless of the means of those who were found guilty of assaulting them, with both of the guilty parties being treated equally in terms of custodial sentencing where appropriate.
    Heaven and Earth Meet in the Human Heart!

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