Congratulations to Professor Shane Kilcommins (School of Law University of Limerick) who gave his Inaugural Lecture on February 11th 2016, entitled ‘The Victim in the Irish Criminal Process’.
The lecture explored the differing positions of crime victims under exculpatory and inculpatory models of justice, and how their ‘status’ may be altering again as part of a new inclusionary momentum. For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, victims were written out of the State/accused justice system, their absentee status quickly acquiring a relative permanency, ‘fixity’ and immovability. Their experiences were rooted exclusively through an ‘equality of arms’ epistemic framework, ensuring that they were interpreted and understood around an axis that focused on the accused and his/her safeguards. Their voices were not heard − and were not capable of being understood − given the commitments, value choices and governing principles of this institutional arrangement. In the last four decades, however, victims are again returning to centre stage in western jurisdictions. Justice systems are partially being reconstructed as they demonstrate an increased sensitivity to the needs and concerns of victims of crime.