Webinar: Judicial Discretion & the Justice & Welfare Dichotomy
27 May 2022
On Monday 23 May 2022, DRCC and Children's Rights Alliance co-hosted a webinar on 'Judicial Discretion and the Justice and Welfare Dichotomy: The Sentencing of Child & Adolescent Sexual Offences in the Irish Youth Justice System'.
The keynote speaker was His Hon Dr John O’Connor, Judge of the Circuit Court, who recently completed his doctorate on the sentencing of underage sexual offenders. In his address, Judge O’Connor examined how juvenile offenders charged with sexual offences are treated in the Irish criminal justice system. He looked at current judicial practice, from the perspective of judges, and also through the lens of young people’s probation officers, Garda Diversion Programme and child victims. Observing international best practice, he made a number of key recommendations, including the rehabilitation of these young people.
A panel chaired by Mary Carolan, Legal Affairs Correspondent with The Irish Times, offered responses to Judge O’Connor’s address:
- Noeline Blackwell, CEO, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
- Julie Ahern, Head of Legal, Policy & Services, Children’s Rights Alliance
- Saoirse Brady, Executive Director, Irish Penal Reform Trust
- Brendan Sheehy, Youth Justice Strategy, Department of Justice.
Interpretation in Irish Sign Language is given. (Note that intermittent poor audio may impact on the signing and that elements of the presentation are subject to copyright.)
- A paper on this topic by Judge O'Connor has been published in the Irish Judicial Studies Journal in June 2022.
- Judge O'Connor's doctoral thesis can be downloaded from Nottingham Trent University.