Decision due on Donegal man’s challenge to mandatory life sentence

The Supreme Court is to rule today on a challenge to the constitutionality of the mandatory life sentence for murder.

The appeal was brought by convicted killers Paul Lynch and Peter Whelan.

Peter Whelan is serving life for the murder of 20 year old student Nicola Sweeney at her home in Rochestown, Cork, in April 2002.

The other man behind this challenge is Paul Lynch who pleaded guilty to murdering Donegal pensioner William Campbell during a robbery at the victim s house in September 1995.

The two men claim the mandatory life sentence under Section 2 of the 1990 Criminal Justice Act breaches the constitutional principle of proportionality and the European Convention on Human Rights.

They argued discretion as to the release date of a murderer should not be left solely to the Minister for Justice.

They lost in the High Court and the Supreme Court will rule on the appeal today.