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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Journalist hits out at justice system as former lover walks free after attack

Allison Bray and Fiona Ferguson

Published 15/11/2012 | 05:00

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A JOURNALIST whose face was disfigured following an attack by her former partner has lashed out at the justice system for allowing him to walk free on condition he pays her compensation.

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American Jane Ruffino (37), who now lives in Dublin, said she believes the justice system has failed her after a judge granted a suspended sentence to her attacker on condition that he pay her more than €5,000 in compensation.

"I don't think that a suspended sentence is sufficient punishment," she told the Irish Independent.

"I think it's a systemic problem and it shouldn't be so easy for someone to walk," she said.

"While I don't feel it was a judge putting a price-tag on my face, I do think the system allows people from a certain strata of society to look remorseful with money," she said.

The freelance journalist made the comments after graphic designer Mark Jordan (39), currently living in Donabate, north Co Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday to assaulting Ms Ruffino at their former home at Ringsend Park, Ringsend, on May 3, 2012.

Token

Judge Martin Nolan imposed a two-and-a-half year sentence which he suspended on condition that he pay her €2,000 immediately and another €3,000 within a year as a token of remorse for the attack that left her with a permanent scar on her face.

He is the same judge who made headlines last March when he jailed a food importer for six years for evading €1.6m in taxes due on garlic he imported from China.

The same judge also angered rape crisis networks and sex abuse support groups last month after suspending the sentence for a convicted sex attacker on condition that he pay €15,000 in compensation to his 17-year-old victim.

The court heard that Mr Jordan and Ms Ruffino had been in a relationship for a year when Mr Jordan started verbally attacking Ms Ruffino after she had gone to bed on the night of May 3.

She told the court that he suddenly went quiet, got out of bed, put her in a headlock and began punching her in the head.

She was screaming and trying to get away as he screamed obscenities and abuse at her. Ms Ruffino said she feared she would be killed.

Mr Jordan claimed the assault was the result of a lack of sleep and work stress. He also made a full admission to his crime and was seen by a witness crying at the scene following the assault, the court heard.

Irish Independent

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