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‘Conspiracy to murder’ sentence limit to rise
Justice minister Helen McEntee Pic: RollingNews.ie

17 Sep 2020 / legislation Print

‘Conspiracy to murder’ sentence limit to rise

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee (pictured) has said the Government is planning new legislation to increase the maximum jail sentence for conspiracy to murder from the current ten years to life. The measure Is targeted at gangland crime.

She said the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020 would update the law to provide judges with the option of imposing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.


‘Conspiracy’ to murder is an incomplete attempt to commit a murder, and was introduced to Ireland as part of the Offences against the Person Act 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.

“Unlike murder and attempted murder, which carry maximum sentences of life imprisonment, the punishment for conspiracy to murder is capped at ten years,” said the minister. “My proposals will bring clarity to the offence and will give judges much more leeway to impose severe sentences.”

New terrorist offences

Earlier this year, the presiding judge at the Special Criminal Court, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, said his “hands were tied” by the ten-year limit, as he handed down a six-year sentence to Dean Howe, who was convicted of conspiring to kill Dublin man Gary Hanley.

The minister also announced that the Government had approved a new bill, the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2020, which will create three new terrorist offences: travelling for the purpose of terrorism, organising or facilitating such travel, and receiving training for terrorism.

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