On June 2, 2006, Irish President Mary McAleese signed an emergency bill [PDF] that authorized jail sentences for persons convicted of having sex with minors while allowing them to use mistake of age as a defense. The new law overturned a 1935 statutory rape law that was ruled unconstitutional because it did not allow defendants to use the defense of mistake of age. Before the passage of the new law, Irish Justice Minster Micheal McDowell warned that it would allow defense lawyers to ask harsh questions of minors.
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