Ireland’s criminal justice system and its response to victims of crime with intellectual disabilities: adversarial procedure on trial

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Cusack, Alan John
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University College Cork
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This thesis explores the manner in which the Irish criminal process addresses the specific needs of victims of crime with intellectual disabilities. By critically analysing the evolution of the adversarial legal tradition, it interrogates the epistemic values which have traditionally been at the heart of Ireland’s criminal justice narrative. Commencing with an analysis of the victim-led machinery of 18th century justice, the thesis details the migratory impact which the evolution of adversarial sensibilities had on the procedural visibility of crime victims in the 19th and 20th centuries. Over the course of the past four decades, however, the crime victim has re-emerged as an important stakeholder within the Irish justice system. From the birth of an established body of victim service rights under the Victims Charter to the recognition of a growing corpus of victim procedural rights within Irish law, an inclusionary movement has emerged to address the needs and concerns of those most affected by an act of criminal wrongdoing. However the extent to which all crime victims have shared in this inclusionary movement is questionable. By adopting a critical appraisal of Ireland’s pre-trial and trial formalities, this thesis considers the true extent to which the specialised needs of crime victims with intellectual disabilities are being met within the Irish criminal justice system. Insofar as this analysis identifies an unmet need in the treatment of this vulnerable victim constituency, the thesis delineates a clear and considered strategy for securing the holistic reform of Ireland's pre-trial and trial formalities. Serving at once to temper the abelist assumptions of Ireland's adversarial criminal trial without substantively weakening the due process rights of a criminal accused, the thesis’ reform strategy offers a principled platform from which to secure the political, professional and procedural re-imagination of Ireland's legal system in a manner which ensures that the voices of all victims of crime are equally heard.
Adversarialism , Victimology , Criminal procedure , Crime victims , Due process , Victims with disabilities , Criminal law
Cusack, A. J. 2018. Ireland’s criminal justice system and its response to victims of crime with intellectual disabilities: adversarial procedure on trial. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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