Law & Disorder:
Court Orders

By clicking on the interactive map you can now see the district by district outcomes of the various courts. The figures supplied by Court Service Ireland show court orders for different offences.

Tap here to view the map

For this documentary RTÉ Investigates looked at our often-chaotic District Court system. There are 63 District Court judges working across 24 areas around Ireland. Last year each judge dealt with an average of almost 5,000 criminal offences.

To get a picture of how the system operates we visited all 24 court districts observing the cases of 6,500 defendants at 100 court sittings.

On three of those days over 150 defendants were due to appear in court at a single sitting.

Court orders are not the same as offences but are closely related. Sometimes a judge may give more than one order for an offence (a fine and a disqualification, for example) and sometimes they may make no order.

This information, which has not been previously made publicly available, gives a detailed picture of sentencing patterns in different districts around Ireland. Some of the differences are stark. In Kildare 10% of all orders in assault cases were for strike out or dismissal.

In Meath the figure was 64%. In District 18 in County Cork (which includes Bandon, Bantry and Skibbereen) 6% of judicial orders in dangerous driving cases were for a strike out or dismissal while in the Leitrim/Sligo/South Donegal district it was 51%.

In the districts of Wexford, County Limerick, Carlow-Kilkenny, Longford-Westmeath, Tipperary, Waterford City and Leitrim/Sligo/South Donegal, just 1% of over 3100 court orders in drugs cases were for jail.

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