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Law Society backs O’Malley Review plans
Pic: Cian Redmond

07 Aug 2020 / law society Print

Law Society backs O’Malley Review plans

The Law Society of Ireland has welcomed the publication yesterday (6 August) of the O’Malley Review of Protections for Vulnerable Witnesses in the Investigation and Prosecution of Sexual Offences.

President Michele O’Boyle (pictured) warmly welcomed the adoption of key Law Society recommendations, made in a submission to the O’Malley Review last year. She added that the Society was ready to immediately engage with the implementation process.

Training

“Following yesterday’s publication of the Review, the Law Society is now engaged with the implementation group established by the Minister for Justice and Equality to consider the review’s 50 recommendations and the steps necessary to implement them,” said Ms O’Boyle.

She said the Society was particularly looking forward to engaging further in initiatives on specialist training for GardaÍ, members of the judiciary, and legal professionals dealing with sexual offences.

Supports

The Society’s submission had recommended a number of measures to support complainants both during the investigation of sexual crime and at trial stage, and the president welcomed some of the key practical supports backed by the review.

“In particular, the provision of appropriate free legal supports, measures to protect vulnerable witnesses, a reduction of delays in sexual offence trials, the introduction of pre-trial hearings, and restrictions on public attendance at trials to preserve anonymity will improve the present process,” she said.

Anonymity

Ms O’Boyle also praised justice minister Helen McEntee for her commitment to implementing the recommendations.

Among the review’s main recommendations were anonymity for defendants - unless and until they are convicted - as well as victims, in all sexual offence trials including sexual assault, and the introduction of preliminary hearings to help avoid delays in such cases.

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