Man to be sentenced again for taking 12,000 photos of woman without consent

Mark Mooney admitted harassing neighbour and was ordered not to live within 8km of victim

The High Court has told the District Court to impose a new sentence on a man in his 50s who admitted taking 12,000 pictures of a female neighbour without her knowledge or consent. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

The High Court has told the District Court to impose a new sentence on a man in his 50s who admitted taking 12,000 pictures of a female neighbour without her knowledge or consent. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

The High Court has told the District Court to impose a new sentence on a man in his 50s who admitted taking 12,000 pictures of a female neighbour without her knowledge or consent.

Mark Mooney, of Corish Park in Wexford Town, was last year convicted before the District Court after he admitted harassing the woman contrary to Section 10 of the 1997 Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act. Gardaí had recovered the photographs from the hard drive of his computer.

The judge hearing the case imposed a nine-month custodial sentence on Mooney, who pleaded guilty to taking pictures of the woman while she was in her garden. However, he suspended the final seven months on condition that Mooney follow a permanent order to not reside within 8km of the injured party.

Mooney subsequently brought a successful High Court challenge against his sentence in a case against the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), which opposed the action and argued that Mooney’s complaints should be dealt with by way of an appeal of the District Court’s orders to the Circuit Court. He claimed that the order would prohibit him from residing in the town where he has always lived.

In his judgement last month, Mr Justice Garrett Simons agreed that the sentence was disproportionate and that it should be set aside.

The matter returned before the High Court on Tuesday when the Judge was informed that the sides were consenting to the matter being remitted back to Wexford District Court where a fresh sentence would be imposed on Mooney.

Unhappiness

Mr Justice Simons heard from Mooney’s victim, who was not a party to the High Court action, who expressed her unhappiness about the case being remitted back to the District Court. The woman said her health had been badly affected by what Mooney had done to her and that she was seeking justice and equal rights for herself.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Simons, who said he had taken the woman’s victim impact statement into account when hearing the case, said that the High Court could only deal with the limited issues raised before it and could only remit it back to the District Court.

He said the woman had raised concerns over the matter being remitted back to the District Court, which can only impose a maximum sentence of 12 months imprisonment, whereas the Circuit Court can impose a longer sentence.

In Mooney’s case, he said that the DPP had opted to try the matter before the District Court, and a judge of that court had accepted the jurisdiction of the case. The clock could not be turned back in relation to the decision to try him before the District Court, Mr Justice Simons said.

The judge said he was “fully aware of the devastating effect” of what Mooney did to the woman and said he had sympathy for her.

Mr Justice Simons set aside the sentence imposed on Mooney in its entirety and directed that the case be remitted back to Wexford District Court when a new sentence is to be imposed.