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New Criminal Offences & Tougher Sentencing Came Into Effect In Irish Republic Today.

A range of new criminal offences, as well as tougher sentences for existing offences, come into effect from today, November 1st 2023.

These offences include measures targeting violent and organised crime, violence against Gardaí and other emergency service workers, together with landmark measures to support victims and punish perpetrators of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

These new laws and tougher sentences mark a milestone in efforts to build stronger, safer communities and demonstrate zero Tolerance of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

From today, under the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023:

  • The maximum sentence for assault causing harm, a common offence in domestic abuse cases as well as in other assaults, increases from five years to ten years.
  • The scope of the existing harassment offence is widened to include any conduct that seriously interferes with a person’s peace and privacy, or causes alarm, distress or harm.
  • A new standalone offence of stalking, with a maximum sentence of up to ten years, is created and now in effect.
  • A standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation or non-fatal suffocation with a maximum sentence of up to ten years, and a standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation or non-fatal suffocation causing serious harm with a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment, often indicators of further, potentially lethal violence against a woman, are created and in effect.
  • The maximum sentence for assaulting or threatening to assault a Garda or other on duty emergency workers increases from 7 to 12 years.
  • The maximum sentence for conspiracy to murder increases from the current penalty of 10 years to life imprisonment to further toughen the laws around gangland crime.

The Act also introduces a range of provisions that will provide better protection for Gardaí and strengthen the laws designed to tackle serious and organised crime.

These include:

  • Increasing the maximum sentence for assaulting or threatening to assault a police officer from 7 to 12 years. The increase in maximum sentence will apply where the assault in question is against an on duty Garda or emergency service worker, such as hospital staff, prison officers, members of the fire brigade, ambulance personnel or members of the Defence Forces.
  • Increasing the maximum sentence for conspiracy to murder from the current penalty of 10 years to life imprisonment. The maximum sentence for conspiracy to murder has been set at 10 years since 1861. It is used when two or more people form a plan to murder another person but are stopped before they can carry it out.
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