FORMER Cork district court judge Michael Pattwell has hit out at the number of repeat offenders being given suspended sentences in Irish courts.
Speaking to the Evening Echo, the retired judge was particularly critical of suspended sentences being granted to repeat offenders, who, he said, cannot be rehabilitated.
He said: “A suspended sentence is a very good weapon if it is used right. It is an ideal thing to do for somebody who has been caught once and the court wanted to teach them a lesson and warn them that if they are going to continue in crime, they could end up in prison.”
He added: “For recidivists, it is in their nature to re-offend. They will re-offend if they can. There are dishonest people who will take a risk.”
He said people who re-offend many times cannot be rehabilitated with a suspended sentence.
Drawing comparisons, he said: “There are kids leaving school at this moment who will unwrap a paper and throw it on the ground, and there are ones who won’t throw it on the ground.”
He said this is emulated at a more serious scale in the crime world, where some offenders never re-offend, while others continue on a path of crime throughout their lives.
Mr Pattwell retired from the bench in 2011 after over 20 years as a district court judge in north Cork, Waterford and Tipperary.
In some cases, full sentences can be suspended.
In each case where a suspension is applied, certain conditions must be met by the offender, including keeping the peace, not re-offending, or to undergo specific treatment or help as outlined by the judge.