Submission to the Joint Committee on Child Protection

In the aftermath of the May 2006 Irish Supreme Court judgment that ruled a 1935 statutory rape law unconstitutional because it did not permit the defense of reasonable mistake, the Irish Centre for Human Rights submitted a report to the Government on child rights and sexual offences following a request from the Joint Committee on Child Protection. The report, submitted in August 2006, examines the framework provided in human rights treaties for the rights of those accused of statutory rape and the protection of children against sexual offences. It considers the international human rights that Ireland, as a State Party, has a duty to preserve and presents a summary of legal trends in statutory rape laws of other jurisdictions, in order to highlight approaches that best reflect human rights principles. It concludes by making a number of recommendations that aim to ensure a balance between the fair trial rights of the accused, including a right to a mistake of fact defense, and the protection of children. Research on the report was carried out by interns Elisabeth S. Ahlquist and Jill Monnin, under the supervision of Professor William Schabas.

The report is available here: Submission to the Joint Committee on Child Protection