The guidelines which judges must follows in sentencing persons convicted of manslaughter were laid down clearly in the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeal on 5 July 2004 in a case DPP v Stephen Kelly. Relying on previous Supreme Court judgments, the court held that in deciding on what the appropriate sentence should be in a manslaughter case, the judge should first look at the range of penalties applicable to the offence and locate the appropriate penalty, given the circumstances of the crime in question. Then the judge should take into account mitigating factors.
Majella Holohan's challenge to the legal system was moving and powerful, but the issues she raised appear to have a reasonable explanation. By Vincent Browne
Fergal Keane reports from Ennis court house where the sentencing of Wayne O'Donoghue was superseded by the moving statement by Majella Holohan which has changed public opinion and raised unanswered questions about the circumstances of Robert Holohan's death
Legal costs claim slashed from €2.25 million to €765,000. Other solicitors firms also guilty of overcharging. Emma Browne reports.
Fyffes clearly lost the insider trading case it took against DCC and Jim Flavin – decided upon by Justice Mary Laffoy in the High Court just before Christmas – but Flavin's claim of "vindication" rings just a bit hollow.
How the US has restricted and distorted the definition of torture
Michael McDowell's crime package represents another failure to deal with social problems and an indifference to the most serious crime phenomenon, sex crime
Colm O'Gorman on his 24-year struggle to uncover the truth in Ferns
The Catholic Church imposed secrecy about its clerical sex abuse under pain of excommunication. By Vincent Browne
Chairman: Frank Murphy
Murphy is a retired Supreme Court judge. He was appointed to the High Court in 1982, and to the Supreme Court in 1996. He had a significant practice in commercial law prior to that at the Bar. He is currently chair of the Residential Institutions Redress Review Committee, which hears appeals of awards by the Redress Board to victims of institutional abuse.