DoJ in astonishing attack on judges over burglars



A senior Department of Justice official yesterday told the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee that the department believes that judges do not treat the offence of burglary seriously enough.

Jimmy Martin, a member of the department’s management board, pointed to cases where burglary suspects were arrested, but freed on bail to re-offend.

Mr Martin made his remarks during a session considering Government measures aimed at tacking the burglary epidemic currently affecting several parts of the country.

He said: “Our perception is that the judiciary didn’t view burglary as a serious offence.

“We have a particular difficulty with burglary where the evidence of the guards suggests there was a lot of burglars who were effectively professional criminals who were committing multiple burglaries. They would be arrested by the guards, charged, released on bail, then commit more burglaries, and be released again.”

He added: “Indeed, we had one instance where it happened six or seven times in one month.”

But Mr Martin stressed: “What I am saying is that there is a perception that may be happening. We don’t know because obviously there is no contact between ourselves and the judiciary.”

Mr Martin said the new Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill being introduced by the Government defined burglary as a serious offence for the purpose of bail hearings.

He concluded: “We would hope that would give some guidance to the judiciary when they are considering bail, but it is still a matter for them to decide what to do.”