Sentencing policy: compare and contrast

8 April, 2011

Consider two cases heard by the Irish courts, the first very recently, the second a few months ago.

Exhibit A:

A FORMER Fás assistant manager who defrauded the agency of more than €600,000 over five years has been given a four-year sentence.

Exhibit B:

A Louth woman who defrauded her employer of €475,000 over a three-year period has been given a six-year suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.   Lorraine Gregory (37), used the €475,000 in forged company cheques to buy a house and fund the purchase of other luxury items such as an Audi A4 car and a foreign holiday.

So Mr X goes to jail for 4 years, while Ms Y walks free.  The above outcomes are not unusual.  If you are looking for consistency, it is hard to find in the sentencing policies of Irish judges.  Or….. can it be the case that women are routinely receiving less punitive sentences than men?  In fact, I suspect there is a definite correlation between length of sentence and gender of the criminal.  This would make an interesting doctoral thesis for somebody.

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