Tuesday 30 May 2017

'Handshake' sex offender loses bid to overturn his conviction

Barry Duggan and Ralph Riegel

A BOUNCER jailed for five years for sexually assaulting a woman he met on a night out has lost his bid to overturn the conviction.

Danny Foley's case became a national talking point in December when around 50 people, including a parish priest, shook hands with him and embraced him in front of his victim before he was jailed.

Last night, rape campaigners said the victim could get on with rebuilding her life now that Foley's case was over.

Foley, from Meens, Listowel, Co Kerry, was convicted of sexually assaulting the 22-year-old woman at a car park on June 15, 2008, after meeting her in a nightclub in the north Kerry town.

Yesterday, his case was called in Galway Circuit Criminal Court after he sought an extension of time to seek leave to appeal the conviction.

Last December, he appealed the severity of the sentence but a legal dispute arose over whether the application of the conviction appeal had been lodged correctly.

However, Judge Donagh McDonagh said there was a deficiency in the application, adding that the proofs in the application were "clearly deficient".



Appeal

"I am of the view that the accused has not made out a credible case in his application to extend his time to seek leave to appeal," Judge McDonagh said after he refused the application.

Foley did not appear in court nor was there anyone from the victim's family present. His appeal against the severity of the sentence -- seven years' imprisonment with two suspended -- continues.

The victim -- who cannot be named for legal reasons -- is now attempting to rebuild her life. She has also bravely decided to remain in her native Kerry, despite the trauma she has endured in recent months.

Director of the Kerry Rape Crisis Centre (KRCC) Vera O'Leary welcomed yesterday's decision.

"It has been a very traumatic time for her and this is certainly fantastic news today.

"She has gone through a terrible ordeal and it has been very difficult for her," she said.

The KRCC director added that she personally never experienced the roller-coaster of emotions that the Listowel case triggered.

"I am working in this area for 18 years and it was the most difficult thing I ever experienced in having to attend a press conference where a young woman who was the victim of such an attack had to speak out just so her voice could be heard," she said.

"I was extremely saddened at the position this young woman was put into and I was also extremely angered over what had happened."

Ms O'Leary added that KRCC officials, the victim's friends and family were now hoping she could get on with her life.

Irish Independent

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