Saturday 3 December 2016

Justice system 'a joke' -- father of slain Robert

Published 23/11/2011 | 05:00

THE father of slain schoolboy Robert Holohan has described the justice system as "a joke" and said the pain over his son's death will never leave his family.

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Mark Holohan's comments came after he came face to face in the High Court last week with Wayne O'Donoghue (27), has served prison time for Robert's manslaughter.

Mr Holohan and his wife, Majella, travelled to Dublin last week for a libel action taken by Mr O'Donoghue against two newspapers. The action was settled. Mr Holohan said he and his wife were "still haunted by the terrible events" of six years ago. "We have to try and go on but it is always with us," he said. "But the pain of losing Robert will never go away."

Mr Holohan said he remains convinced that his son did not receive proper justice over the circumstances of his death.

Mr O'Donoghue served three years of a four-year prison term for manslaughter.

Robert died when a row about a trip to a fast-food restaurant escalated on January 4, 2005, and he was placed in a head-lock by Mr O'Donoghue, his next door neighbour.

When the head-lock was released, the youngster had died. Mr O'Donoghue -- who was 20 at the time -- said he then panicked and dumped the boy's body at Inch Strand in east Cork, where it lay undiscovered for nine days.

Mr O'Donoghue subsequently took part as gardai mounted one of the biggest missing person hunts in Irish history.

The body was eventually located after telecommunications experts tracked signals from Robert's mobile phone.

Mr O'Donoghue was arrested 24 hours after the Robert's funeral. He admitted manslaughter and was acquitted, by unanimous verdict, of murder in December 2005. On his release from prison he moved to the UK, where he has remained.

Courage

Mr O'Donoghue took the libel actions arising from coverage in the wake of his sentencing hearing in Ennis in January 2006.

Robert's parents travelled from their Midleton, Co Cork, home to the hearing last week in support of the newspapers.

In a joint statement after the matter was resolved, Michael Denieffe, managing editor, Independent Newspapers, and 'Sunday World' editor Colm McGinty paid tribute to the Holohans for attending the hearing.

"We take this opportunity to acknowledge their courage and dignity," they said.

Irish Independent

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