Sunday 25 February 2018

'Justice system a joke' - parents of victim as killer gets five years

Marion and Frank Conroy outside court with a photo of their son, Peter. Photo: Collins Courts
Marion and Frank Conroy outside court with a photo of their son, Peter. Photo: Collins Courts

Peter Doyle

The grieving parents of a man stabbed to death during a brawl have branded the justice system a 'joke' after their son's killer was jailed for five years.

Terence 'Terry' Connors (42) was originally charged with the murder of Peter Conroy (25), at Palmerstown Lodge B&B, Kennelsfort Road Lower, Palmerstown, Dublin 20, on June 9, 2015.

His plea of guilty to manslaughter and not guilty to murder was rejected by the State. But last December he was convicted by a jury of manslaughter after a one-week trial.

At the Central Criminal Court, Connors, of Drumcairn Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin 24, was sentenced to seven years' jail, with the last two suspended, for killing Mr Conroy.

Speaking outside court, the dead man's parents, Frank and Marion Conroy, broke down as they criticised the sentence handed down by Mr Justice Paul Butler.

"Peter was a loving son. He was a rock to us. He was a loving father. He didn't deserve to be killed the way he was killed. He got no justice. Seven years, with two suspended for another person's life. Where's the justice in that? He [Connors] stabbed him four times and he got manslaughter," Mr Conroy said.

Wiping away tears, Mrs Conroy said: "How can you put a time on a person? Where is the justice? The justice system is a f***ing joke in this country. In any other country, he'd get more. You get more for robbing than you would for murder. We will never see our son again."

Earlier, Mr Justice Butler was forced to adjourn the hearing when friends and relatives of the dead man reacted angrily when the sentence was delivered. Gardaí were forced to remove several people from the courtroom after one women shouted: "He [Connors] is laughing in our faces", and one man rushed at the accused sitting in the dock.

Another woman in the public gallery was heard shouting at Connors: "If he smiles once more, I'll f***ing punch him."

During his trial, the court was told Connors believed his children were in danger as fighting between guests of the B&B and non-residents intensified when he fatally stabbed his victim.

Delivering his sentence, Mr Justice Butler said although the accused had returned to the scene of the brawl with a knife and was "seen to make a downwards motion towards the deceased" on CCTV, "the killing lacked the intention of a murder conviction".

The judge said the accused, whom he described as being from "a Travelling background", had "expressed remorse from the bottom of his heart".

However, he said the fact Connors returned to the scene of the fight with a knife had been an aggravating factor in sentencing.

Connors was also sentenced to two months' jail for assaulting a woman, Elaine Blunt, during the same brawl. The judge suspended this sentence in full.

The manslaughter sentence was backdated to October 1, 2015.

Irish Independent

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