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28th May 2023

Spiking of drinks could result in 10 years in jail under new legislation

Clodagh McKeon

The new legislation from Fine Gael will make spiking drinks a standalone offence.

Drink spiking that leads to sexual or physical assault will now carry a jail sentence of up to ten years under new law.

Spiking means putting drugs or alcohol into somebody’s drink without them knowing.

The penalties will be heavier if the victim is hurt in any way. A shocking 15% of people who reported a sexual assault cited spiking.

This issue is set to be discussed in Cabinet this week and ministers are expected to allow it to progress.

According to the Irish Independent, the new law will punish those who spike someone so they can “overpower or sedate” someone to “engage in a sexual act, cause harm, make a gain or cause a loss, or otherwise commit an offence”.

Irish Fine Gael party leader, Regina Doherty said: “Spiking is different to someone coming up to you on the road and giving you a box.

“There is normally major malice of intent in regard to anybody who takes the course of action of spiking somebody else’s drink or spiking with an injection.

“It’s a wide enough ranging offence but it gives the authority to the judiciary and the police service a particular line of action instead of the very vague line of action that currently exists.”

Justice Minister Simon Harris previously noted that he believes the current maximum sentence of three years for drink spiking is far too low.

He will introduce this new bill into the Seanad next week.

A spokesperson for the minister said: “The bill seeks a standalone offence and therefore, it requires detailed consideration.

“However, it is a welcome opportunity to discuss the harm posed by spiking. There is a strong correlation between spiking and sexual offences.”


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