Maximum sentence for conspiracy to murder to be increased to life imprisonment

Maximum sentence for conspiracy to murder to be increased to life imprisonment

Helen McEntee

The maximum sentence for conspiracy to murder will be increased to life imprisonment under a new bill announced by the government.

The Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020 will, among other provisions, update the law to provide judges with the option of imposing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

As it stands, the maximum sentence for the crime has been set at 10 years and has been that way since 1861.

Conspiracy to murder is an incomplete attempt to commit a murder and was introduced to Ireland as part of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said gardaí are doing their job by arresting those intent on committing murder, and that her proposals are targeted at gangland criminals.

Announcing the new proposals, she said: “The fact that the gardaí are doing their job effectively and arresting criminals who are determined to murder should not make conspiracy to murder a lesser offence. The seriousness of the crime must be reflected in the sentence our judges can impose.

“Unlike murder and attempted murder, which carry maximum sentences of life imprisonment, the punishment for conspiracy to murder is capped at 10 years. My proposals will bring clarity to the offence and will give judges much more leeway to impose severe sentences.”

She added: “In addition to being tough when needed, we must also work with communities affected by criminal activity to identify what help they require.

“Last month, I appointed Vivian Geiran, the former director of the probation service, to carry out a scoping exercise to assess how best the State can help people in Drogheda, and the government is committed to supporting communities and community safety right across the country.”

Ms McEntee also announced that she has secured government approval for the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2020, which will introduce three new terrorist offences to the definition of “terrorist-linked activity”.

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