Criticism of sentence in sex assault


SEANAD:CATHAOIRLEACH PADDY Burke (FG) emphasised that he was not going to allow the judiciary to be brought into disrepute after party colleague Martin Conway – in an avowedly Shakespearean allusion – had said there was something rotten in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Referring to a newspaper report on a sexual assault case, Mr Conway said it was appalling to think that money could buy a way out of jail. There was a need for a debate on improving the law relating to sexual crime to ensure that those who committed acts of violence against women went to jail.

Fidelma Healy-Eames (FG) said the guilty party in this case had a record of harm. His mother had indicated he had been the victim of sexual abuse as a child. “What I can’t get over is why there was no requirement that he attend counselling. The poor victim is attending counselling every two weeks to get over it herself.”

Seanad deputy leader Ivana Bacik (Lab) said the disturbing outcome of this latest case was a further example of the need for sentencing guidelines.

Cait Keane (FG) wondered where our priorities lay when one individual faced a penalty of €15,000 for a sexual assault and another went to jail for six years for illegally importing garlic.