Good of society v interests of individual

When all the razzmatazz is stripped from the Paris Hilton story we are left with a very simple situation. A citizen who broke probation for a relatively minor crime was given 45 days in jail. A sheriff decided to release her to house arrest after two days but the judge who sentenced her was having none of it and threw her back in jail.

The judge was right. Clearly, he believes that justice should be seen to be done, that people with influence are not given any special treatment. In other words, the judge sees law enforcement and respect for the law as more important than the needs of any individual citizen. The outcome is bad for the unfortunate citizen but good for American society.

In Ireland, the opposite is usually the case as the recent ODCE/NIB case clearly illustrated. Even though Mr. Curran was part of a major criminal conspiracy a judge decided that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to ban him from company management because it might damage his honesty and integrity. The outcome in this case is good for the individual but very bad for Irish society.

The American judge looks out and acts for the greater good of society, the Irish judge looks in and protects the interests of one dodgy individual thus seriously damaging the credibility of the Irish justice system.