Suspended sex assault term criticised


The decision of Circuit Criminal Court Judge Martin Nolan on Wednesday to impose a four-year suspended sentence on a sex offender - on condition that he pays €15,000 to his victim within a year - has been described as “appalling” by the Children At Risk in Ireland (Cari) agency.

The agency called on the Director of Public Prosecutions “to keep this case under close review and appeal the final sentencing if there is no custodial element to it”.

The agency also pointed out “this is the second time in recent months that an Irish judge has put a price on a sexual crime. In July, businessman Anthony Lyons had five-and a half years of his six-year sentence suspended by Justice Desmond Hogan after being found guilty of sexually attacking a woman. The judge also ordered the 51-year-old to pay € 75,000 in compensation to the victim.”

At the Circuit Criminal Court on Wednesday, Graham Griffiths (29), of the Saltings, Annagassan, Co Louth, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl on April 17th, 2011, after he encountered her in a Dublin suburban chip shop.

She pushed him away twice before he followed her outside, sexually assaulted her against railings and pinned her on the ground. He also ripped her clothes during the assault. A male friend of the girl’s came to her assistance and Griffith eventually got up and walked away.

Cari chief executive Mary Flaherty said: “It is an affront to basic human rights that again our judges are putting a price on a sexual assault.”