Judge suspends another jail term if attacker pays €3,000 to his victim
A JUDGE who suspended a sex attacker's jail sentence on conditions that included he gives compensation to his victim has suspended another man's prison term if he pays €3,000 to a neighbour he assaulted.
In the latest case, Judge Martin Nolan suspended a two-and-a-half-year jail term for a man who viciously assaulted his next-door neighbour in her garden on condition he pay his victim €3,000.
The judge said the money was not compensation but a "token of remorse".
During the unprovoked and unexplained assault that occurred while the woman's elderly, deaf father was inside, Thomas Finn (20) repeatedly punched the woman until she lost consciousness and then started kicking her as she lay on the ground.
When the father of one was arrested, he told gardai he was going to burn the woman's house.
Finn, of Berryfield Road, Finglas, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Anthea Guerin on May 31, 2011, and to threatening to burn down her house on June 8, 2011.
Judge Nolan said Finn had behaved deplorably on the night in question but he was satisfied that it would not be repeated.
He imposed a two-and-a-half-year sentence but suspended it in full on conditions that included paying €3,000 to his victim within one year.
Garda Aidan O'Reilly told prosecuting counsel Roisin Lacey that Ms Guerin was with her father in their home when she heard shouting outside. She looked out to see Finn arguing with his parents.
A short time later, she heard a tapping coming from outside and went out to see Finn and another man in her back garden. When she told him to get out of her garden, he started punching her in the face. She fell to the ground and he kicked her in the body and face until she blacked out.
Defence counsel John Fitzgerald said that his client was a heavy user of the banned headshop drug 'snow blow' at the time and was arguing about this with his parents when Ms Guerin saw them.
He said Finn was unemployed and cared for his child while his girlfriend worked. He added that he had written a letter of apology to his victim.
Meanwhile, there were calls for the introduction of sentencing guidelines for judges after a sex attacker escaped jail on condition he paid €15,000 to his 17-year-old victim.
In that case, Judge Nolan imposed a four-year sentence on convicted criminal Graham Griffiths (29) of The Saltings, Annagassan, Co Louth, but suspended the sentence in full on conditions including that Griffiths pay his victim €15,000 within one year "to bring home the seriousness of what he has done".
If the woman did not wish to receive the money, the court would decide where it would go, he said.