Sunday 20 January 2019

Former sports coach Bill Kenneally appeals sentence for abusing 10 boys

Bill Kenneally
Bill Kenneally

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A former sports coach jailed for sexually abusing ten teenage boys in the 1980s has brought an appeal against the severity of his sentence.

Bill Kenneally (67), with an address at Summerville Avenue, Waterford City, had pleaded guilty to ten sample counts of indecently assaulting ten boys at various locations in Waterford in the 1980s. Kenneally was originally charged with 70 counts spanning dates in the 1970s and 1980s.

He was sentenced at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court to 14 years and two months imprisonment by Judge Eugene O'Kelly in February 2016.

The Court of Appeal heard today that the sentencing judge imposed imposed consecutive 17 month sentences in respect of each of the ten victims.

Opening an appeal against the severity of his sentence in the three-judge court today, Kenneally's barrister, Michael Counihan SC, submitted that the sentencing judge decided that he was going to give Kenneally 14 years and he built in everything that he could to reach that “pre-determined” point.

Mr Counihan said the sentencing judge picked a tariff and multiplied it out “to give satisfaction to the victims – as he says so himself”. However, he said “one can't let one's outrage be the only informing factor”.

Mr Counihan said the duty of a court is not to victims, but to the public, and to reach a sentence the public demands not what the victims demand “and that's where he (the sentencing judge) became blinkered”.

The appeal hearing continues in the three-judge Court of Appeal this afternoon.

Mr Justice George Birmingham remarked that in his experience, he was personally not aware of case involving 10 victims where the abuse was so severe as it was here, coupled with the breach of trust, the use of alcohol, the payment of money and the use of photos as a form of coercion.

More to follow...

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News