Barristers Call For Delay In Justice Bill

140 barristers have called on the Minister for Justice and Tánaiste, Michael McDowell, to delay the passage of the Criminal Justice Bill through the Dáil until after Easter at least. In a letter signed by the barristers, the Minister has been told the time is needed to allow those involved in the criminal justice system to make a constructive input into the debate.

Barrister Michael O’Higgins says the letter outlines their concerns in three key areas; the right to silence, mandatory sentencing for major drug offences, and detention of suspects for up to seven days without charge.

Responding to the call, a spokesperson for Mr McDowell said the Bill is being debated in the Dáil over the course of three weeks – last week, this week and next week – and that it will not go to the Seanad until after Easter.