Barry v Sentence Review Group

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMr. Justice Paul Butler
Judgment Date30 October 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] IEHC 151
CourtHigh Court
Date30 October 2001
Docket Number[2000 No. 786 J.R.],No. 786 JR/2000

[2001] IEHC 151

THE HIGH COURT

No. 786 JR/2000
BARRY v. SENTENCE REVIEW GROUP & MINISTER FOR JUSTICE EQUALITY & LAW REFORM
JUDICIAL REVIEW

BETWEEN

JOSEPH BARRY
APPLICANT

AND

THE SENTENCE REVIEW GROUP AND THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE,EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM
RESPONDENTS

Citations:

CONSTITUTION ART 13.6

Synopsis:

CRIMINAL LAW

Sentence

Review of sentence -Legal representation - Practice and procedure - Discovery - Access to documents - Role of Sentence Review Group - Fair procedures - Whether applicant entitled to legal representation - Whether applicant entitled to access documents being considered by Sentence Review Group - Bunreacht na hÉireann, 1937 (2000/786JR - Butler J - 30/10/01)

Barry v Sentence Review Group - [2001] 4 IR 167

Facts: The applicant had been convicted of murder in the United Kingdom and had been transferred to an Irish prison. The applicant initiated judicial review proceedings challenging the refusal of the Sentence Review Group to allow him have legal representation at the hearing of the review of his sentence. The applicant also wished to challenge the decision to refuse him access to documents being considered by the Sentence Review Group. It was submitted on behalf of the respondent that the Minister for Justice established the Sentence Review Group on a purely concessionary, ex gratia basis, that the applicant had no right to be released from prison and that if there was no review group he could have no cause of complaint.

Held by the High Court (Butler J) in making the following orders. The power to remit or commute a sentence was an exercise of constitutional power under Article 13.6 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, 1937. That power was primarily invested in the President but may be exercised by the Government (delegated to the Minister for Justice). The Sentence Review Group was established to advise the Government on the administration of long term prison sentences. It had no statutory function and its functions were purely advisory. The applicant was, prima facie, entitled to sight of all documents which were considered by the Sentence Review Group in coming to a decision on a recommendation to the Minister. The said documents should be disclosed but subject to the right of the Sentence Review Group to claim privilege in respect of any individual documents for good reason. Legal representation at an oral hearing before the Sentence Review Group was not necessary to satisfy the requirements of fair procedures. To introduce full legal representation at a formal hearing would be disproportionate and would have the effect of changing the whole character of the procedure set up by the Minister. The function of the Group was purely an advisory one and it exercised no power akin to a disciplinary body. It met for the purpose of coming to a recommendation in a non adversarial way.

1

Mr. Justice Paul Butler delivered the 30th day of October 2001

2

1. The applicant is a prisoner in Ireland. He was convicted of the offence of murder in the United Kingdom in November, 1990 and sentenced subject to a mandatory life tariff of twelve years. In December, 1998 he was transferred to prison in Ireland following an earlier Order of the High Court with the consent of the second named respondent.

3

2. In these proceedings the Applicant has challenged a decision of the first named respondent (hereinafter referred to as "the Group") made on the 29th September 2000 refusing a request for...

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5 cases
  • Grogan v Parole Board & Min for Justice
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 27 June 2008
    ...2 ILRM 211 MURRAY & MURRAY v IRELAND 1991 ILRM 465 KINAHAN v MIN JUSTICE 2001 4 IR 454 BARRY v SENTENCE REVIEW GROUP & MIN FOR JUSTICE 2001 4 IR 167 2001/1/282 CONSTITUTION ART 40 13.6 CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1951 S23(1) CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1951 S23(3) CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 1951 S23A(1) CRI......
  • Nascimento v Minister for Justice
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    • 26 October 2007
    ...Houses Ltd. v. Wednesbury Corporation [1948] 1 K.B. 223; [1947] 2 All E.R. 680; [1947] W.N. 1290. Barry v. Sentence Review Group [2001] 4 I.R. 167. Buckley and others (Sinn Féin) v. Attorney General and another[1950] I.R. 67. Chaulk v. R. [1990] 3 S.C.R. 1303. Cox v. Ireland [1992] 2 I.R. 5......
  • Shaw v Minister for Justice and Equality
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 9 March 2018
    ...legal assistance before the Sentence Review Group (the precursor to the Parole Board) was considered in Barry v. Sentence Review Group [2001] 4 I.R. 167. Butler J. opined, at para. 9: ‘As indicated, the applicant has at all material times had the benefit of independent legal advice and repr......
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    • 26 October 2007
    ...CRIMINAL JUSTICE (TEMPORARY RELEASE) ACT 2003 CONSTITUTION ART 13(6) KINAHAN v MIN JUSTICE 2001 4 IR 454 BARRY v SENTENCE REVIEW GROUP 2001 4 IR 167 COX v IRELAND 1992 2 IR 503 HEANEY v IRELAND 1994 3 IR 593 PIGS MARKETING BOARD v DONNELLY (DUBLIN) LTD 1939 IR 413 BUCKLEY v AG 1950 IR 67 DE......
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