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No retrospective effect if defendant is remanded to District Court for consideration of suspended sentence pursuant to 2017 Act

By: Hannah Godfrey BL

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Court of Appeal, in consultative case stated from the Circuit Court arising from the entering into force of a 2017 statute dealing with suspended sentences, finds that the Circuit Court judge was correct in law in finding that a 2006 statutory provision (where the applicable 2017 provision had only come into force on 11 January 2019) required her to remand the defendant to Dublin District Court arising from a suspended sentence imposed in March 2018, where a triggering offence was committed in July 2018,  for a consideration of a revocation of the suspended sentence and any reactivation of same, on the grounds, inter alia, that: any contention that a reactivation hearing may have resulted in the imposition of a sentence greater than was available during the period of the statutory lacuna from 19 April 2016 to 11 January 2019, failed to have regard to the approach of a judge in exercising the sentencing function, which is based on the principles of totality, justice and proportionality, and the obligation to take into account the circumstances of the case.

Consultative case stated from the Circuit Court - suspended sentence for theft - new offence of attempted robbery within period of suspension - statutory lacuna between High Court striking down s. 99(9) and s. 99(10) of the 2006 Act as repugnant to the Constitution in 2016 and entering into force of the 2017 Act on 11 January 2019 - suspended sentence imposed 21 March 2018 - triggering offence committed on 8 July 2018 - guilty plea entered on 9 November 2018 - whether 2017 Act applied from the date of entering into force regardless of the dates concerning the triggering offence - whether application of 2017 Act would amount to retrospective effect - whether provisions of 2017 Act substantive and penal in nature.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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