Saturday 25 March 2017

Jean Treacy's misfortune doesn't merit special treatment

The ring-fencing of Ms Treacy was unprecedented and is unlikely to be offered to many defence witnesses, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

JEAN Treacy -- the former lover of Eamonn Lillis, who has been found guilty of the manslaughter of his wife at their luxury Howth home in December 2008, eight weeks after he and Ms Treacy began an affair -- has asked the media to respect her privacy after the conclusion of the jury deliberations.

In a letter issued through her solicitors, Ms Treacy insists that she does not want to speak to reporters, either in person or by telephone, or to have her photograph taken. In that respect, her wishes couldn't be clearer. As the Evening Herald headline put it on the day the solicitors' letter was issued: "Leave me alone."

Whether that is a realistic, or even a reasonable, request is, in the circumstances, a separate issue entirely. Once Eamonn Lillis was charged with the murder of his wife, all of his actions and decisions became a legitimate matter for scrutiny. One of those decisions happened to be his relationship with Ms Treacy. That was unfortunate for her. Nobody likes to have their sex life paraded before a crowded courtroom, much less to have an audience of hundreds of thousands sharing those details later through the media; or to have their intimate text messages read out years after the feelings which inspired the honeyed words have long since cooled. To have to relive the exact moment when a relationship went from a professional to a sexual one must be mortifying on every level. Knowing that your family and friends are also having to deal with unwanted attention as a result is deeply embarrassing. One can only sympathise on a human level with Ms Treacy's vulnerability.

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