the ‘real’ crime obsession
Chapter 1 introduces the reader to systemic biases in the Irish legal system through an analysis of the definition of crime. A doctrinal analysis reveals that crime is defined according to a ‘real crime’ perspective. Crime is defined in accordance with certain particular indicia, such as the presence or absence of criminal procedure, the role of the State as prosecutor, the presence of culpability requirements, the vocabulary used in the construction of a provision and the severity of the sanctions employed. Corporate and white-collar crimes, however, are often enforced by regulatory law. Regulatory crime does not always use traditional criminal law procedures, does not always provide for extended custodial sentences, may not always be enforced by the DPP on behalf of the State, and may be enforced on the basis of strict liability to deter rather than punish wrongdoing. The Irish legal system has marginalised corporate crime from traditional discourse on crime. A sociological analysis of crime is used to reveal how the legal definition of crime reinforces the public perception that corporate crime is not truly criminal and, conversely, how this public perception also supports the legal marginalisation of this wrongdoing from crime debates.
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