Tuesday, 22 January 2013


Yesterday a man who pleaded guilty - admitted - to raping his daughter regularly over a ten year period walked out of court, free pending an appeal. He was sentenced to twelve years, but the final nine were suspended, and for the first three he was remanded on continuing bail - basically enabling him to walk out of court.
More details of the specifics of the case at these links:
Irish Times

His daughter waived her right to anonymity in this case so that he could be named and shamed - he is Patrick O'Brien, age 72. He suffers from a "serious medical condition" - but so what?

His victim, the man's own daughter, will never be able to forget the horrific crime he committed. However, she had the right to feel that some semblance of justice would be done. He wasn't old when he first committed the crime. He wasn't sick. So what if he is now? If his crime is worthy of a prison sentence then it is worthy of a prison sentence.

This is just the latest in a long string of cases of leniency meted out to perpetrators of rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse and incest by "Justice" Paul Carney. For example, the time he freed the attacker, leading his victim to have to travel home on the same train as him.  Or the time he forced a victim to stand in front of the men she accused of gang raping her and point at them, leading her to try to take her own life. Or the time he said that the crime merited a sentence of nine years, but on account of the perpetrator's good employment record and lack of other convictions, he suspended half of it.

Carney has a bad record when it comes to sex crimes, but he isn't the only judge in the country who does - look at the examples from last year of a man sentenced to six years with the final FIVE AND A HALF suspended as well as being ordered to pay compensation to his victim - paying her for sex which she did not consent to, essentially.  And the perpetrator who offered compensation to his victims.

We need to look at this as a society - why are sexual offences not considered serious enough to merit mandatory minimum sentencing? What should it matter if a perpetrator is now old and decrepit - he once wielded the power to commit the crime, and that is what should be taken into account. Who cares if he has no other convictions? Once is enough to affect a victim's life forever, and at least once a week as happened in this case was certainly enough to ruin her childhood. Risk of reoffending of course should be taken into consideration - but just because a rapist or abuser is old and decrepit now doesn't mean that he wasn't ever a risk, or that he didn't commit other offences while still able-bodied.

There is a facebook page Justice for Fiona Doyle where efforts to get justice in her case are being concentrated and publicised. There is also a petition you can sign.

Please do something - even just share the stories above on facebook or twitter, or in conversation in daily life. So many women are victims of some form of sexual assault during their lives. We have to change this culture a little at a time - from the top down, and the bottom up. Every action counts.

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