may get say on rape law reform
The Government is willing to consider a constitutional
referendum to provide specific protection for children
and to deal with the outcome of the Supreme
Court "CC" case on statutory rape, it
examination of a potential referendum on both issues
is included in the Government's draft terms of
reference for the special Oireachtas committee to
investigate child protection in the wake of the
it will not examine the breakdown in communications that
led to the Government and the Attorney General being
unaware of the progress of the case and the impending
Supreme Court decision last month.
discussions on the draft terms of reference are
to take place over the coming week between the Minister
of Justice Michael McDowell and Opposition TD's
in a bid to reach consensus on the establishment
of the all-party committe, which would sit over
Government's proposed terms of reference are almost
identical to those produced by Fine Gael and
Labour on Sunday, and include proposals to "consider
the implications arising from the Supreme Court
decision of May 23rd, 2006, in the "CC"
case including the desirability or otherwise of
a constitutional ammendment to deal with the outcome
of that case".
refers to the possibility of removing the potential
defence of "reasonable doubt" which will
allow those accused of statutory rape to argue they
did not know the girl was under 17. The committee
will also "examine the issues on the desirability
or otherwise of amending the constitution to include
a general right of protection for children."
will review criminal laws relating to sexual offences
against children, child protection legislation and
court procedures relating to child sex abuse cases.
will also examine the issues surrounding the age
of consent relating to sex offence.
the Governement has effectively ruled out
conceding an independant commission of investigation
to be established alongside the Oireachtas committee
as called for by Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and
labour leader Pat Rabbitte.
report by Dept of Finance offical, Eddie Sullivan
on the controversy is due in the next two weeks.