Sunday 27 May 2018

Sex offenders who have left shattered lives in their wake

Magnus Meyer Hustveit. Photo: Collins Courts.
Magnus Meyer Hustveit. Photo: Collins Courts.
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

When Tom Humphries was jailed for a mere two-and-a-half years for grooming and sexually abusing a young girl, he joined a notorious club of men who preyed on young women or girls, leaving shattered lives behind them.

The list of sex offenders treated with undue leniency by the Irish courts is long and insalubrious.

Anthony Lyons - a Dublin businessman who rugby tackled a young woman to the ground on a dark stretch of road in October 2010 before sexually assaulting her - initially received a six-month jail sentence.

He claimed he had been under the influence of cough syrup and cholesterol medicine at the time of his attack. After an appeal by the DPP, he was sent back to jail to serve another 18 months.

Norwegian Magnus Meyer Hustveit was given an entirely suspended sentence of seven years for raping his girlfriend multiple times while she slept on dates between 2011 and 2012. He was re-sentenced to 15 months imprisonment after the Court of Appeal decided his original term was "unduly lenient".

In December 2009, dozens of people, including a priest, queued up to express their support to bouncer Danny Foley, sentenced by the Circuit Court in Tralee to seven years for sexually assaulting a woman (22) in a nightclub.

"We've been screaming out for years to have the sentencing system overhauled," said campaigner and abuse survivor Fiona Doyle - who as a child endured a decade of horrific sexual torture at the hands of her father Patrick O'Brien.

Noeline Blackwell, of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said: "We're expecting victims to go forward into the justice system and one thing they don't want to hear is that it depends who you get on the day - who the judge is."

She said consistency of sentencing is extremely important for the victim and is something the justice system needs to aim for. She said judges have a large amount of discretion around sentencing and we don't know how they come to their decisions.

Irish Independent

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