Chada mother says victims of violence are not being heard

Sanjeev Chada strangled his sons Eoghan (10) and Ruairí (five) in Co Mayo in July 2013

Kathleen Chada said ‘I will never fully heal. I don’t want to get over this’.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Kathleen Chada said ‘I will never fully heal. I don’t want to get over this’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Kathleen Chada, the mother of two boys killed by their father, has said the voices of victims of violence are not being heard.

Sanjeev Chada (44), from Co Carlow, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014 after driving his sons, Eoghan (10) and Ruairí (five), to Co Mayo, where he strangled them in late July 2013.

He then wrote a note saying: “I suppose we will always be together now in some way.” Their bodies were discovered in the boot of his car after he crashed near Westport.

On Monday Ms Chada called for the introduction of a victim advocacy system and for victim impact statements to be taken into consideration before sentencing.

“I will never fully heal. I don’t want to get over this. I’m Eoghan and Ruairí’s voice. I can be their voice going forward,” she said.

Ms Chada is participating in the Safe Ireland, Safe World conference being held in Dublin on Monday and Tuesday.

She said she was particularly concerned about two recent cases, which she says, highlighted the need “for a different kind of sentencing”.

One was a case where a man had tried to kill his four children. “Every line in that case resonated with me.”

She said in this case, which concluded last week, the man was sentenced to 12 years, with a jail term of eight years. “He’ll get a quarter off, [SO]that’s down to six years, he’s already served one year, so potentially in five years, he could be on the streets.”

Ms Chada added that not alone “could he be a danger to society, but he could also be a danger to his children. Yet he is going to be allowed out. It’s an insult.”

In another case a man who assaulted his estranged wife was given a suspended sentence. “He got credit for his guilty plea, for showing remorse.

She also questioned the taking of a guilty plea into consideration by judges when it came to sentencing.

“I have an issue with a guilty plea - it means he doesn’t have to face what he’s done. He’s hiding behind that guilty plea. He doesn’t even have to engage with the probation service. Not even a rap on the knuckles. Basically he walks away free.”

Ms Chada was also critical of the current victim impact statement system. “It’s like a pat on the head. It has to be submitted in advance, even edited possibly.”

She explained that in her case, she had insisted on reading her victim impact statement in person from the front of the court so her husband could hear it.