Tuesday 26 September 2017

Brother of late Cathriona White pleads guilty to assault arising from photo taken at sister's funeral

Cathriona White
Cathriona White
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A brother of the late girlfriend of Hollywood actor Jim Carrey and a decorated war hero has pleaded guilty to two assaults arising from a photograph taken at his sister's funeral.

 James White (32), who received the Military Cross from Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 for his heroism during an action in Afghanistan, had his sentencing adjourned at Thurles District Court.

James White
James White

 Mr White of Cappawhite, Co Tipperary pleaded guilty to two assaults arising from an incident in November 2015.

 The case had previously been adjourned to allow for the preparation of victim impact statements.

 Judge Elizabeth MacGrath heard that the assaults, on two brothers at an address in Tipperary, arose from photographs taken as the funeral of his sister, Cathriona White (30), in October 2015.

 Ms White was the former girlfriend of Jim Carrey and there was substantial media coverage of her funeral in Cappawhite.

 Judge MacGrath said the incidents were at the lower end of the scale and she proposed dealing with the matter through the restorative justice programme.

 "It arose from a photograph that was taken at your client's sister's  funeral," she said.

Jim Carrey carries the coffin of ex-girlfriend Cathriona White in Cappawhite, Co Tipperary
Jim Carrey carries the coffin of ex-girlfriend Cathriona White in Cappawhite, Co Tipperary

 "(It led to) the unfortunate course of action that he did."

 "But I think this may be an appropriate case for restorative justice. (Particularly the circumstances of) what drove him to take the actions on the day in question."

 Judge MacGrath said such a course might be better for everyone involved.

 "Life is too short for people to be going around with a level of fear that could be abated and might be abated."

 Defence solicitor, Colin Morrissey, said his client would support a restorative justice option.

 Judge MacGrath adjourned the matter until February 28 next to allow the restorative justice option to be explored.

 Mr White is a brother of Cathriona White (30) who died in tragic circumstances in Los Angeles in September 2015.

 She had been involved in an intermittent relationship with Hollywood actor, Jim Carrey, the star of such films as 'The Mask', 'Pet Detective' and 'Bruce Almighty'.

 Ms White apparently took her own life.

 Mr Carrey flew to Tipperary to support the White family during Cathriona's funeral arrangements in October 2015.

 He also helped shoulder her coffin from Requiem Mass.

 Mr Carrey said at the time that Cathriona was "a beautiful person" and "too fragile a flower" for this world.

 The actor has since been the focus of legal action from Ms White's former husband, Mark Burton, and her mother, Brigid Sweetnam.

 Her father, Pat White, died after a long battle with cancer in 2012.

 Ms Sweetnam is taking a wrongful death action action in the US against Mr Carrey over the circumstances of her daughter's death.

 But the White family insisted they have absolutely no part in the legal actions and said ongoing media coverage of Cathriona's death had caused them great distress.

 Mr White of Greenfields, Cappawhite, Tipperary was unable to join the Defence Forces in the early 2000s and, at the urging of his late father, Pat, decided to move to the UK and join the British Army.

 He served with the Parachute Regiment and reached the rank of Lance Corporal.

 The young man was awarded the Military Cross in 2011 for what were described as "multiple acts of bravery."

 During his deployment in Afghanistan with the Parachute Regiment, he served as part of a Special Forces Support Group involved in some of the heaviest clashes with the Taliban.

 The main item singled out for his heroism was when the young Tipperary man ran 200 metres across open ground while under fire to support colleagues in another platoon who were pinned down by Taliban fighters.

 Mr White undertook the rescue act despite being under fire from Kalashnikov assault rifles and even Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs).

 He received his Military Cross directly from Queen Elizabeth II in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

 He later left the British Army to pursue a career in the private sector.

 Mr White had moved to the UK from Tipperary in 2003 and, with some friends, opted to enlist in the army in 2005.

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