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