Friday 21 September 2018

'Paedophiles are getting such ridiculous sentences, it's unbelievable' - Tom Humphries' sentencing criticised

Tom Humphries
Tom Humphries
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The "ridiculous" two-and-a-half year prison sentence once prominent sports writer Tom Humphries received for defiling a teenage girl has been called "disheartening" and "unbelievable."

He was also sentenced to two years in respect of the sexual exploitation of the same girl.

The sentences, handed down to the former ‘Irish Times’ journalist by Judge Karen O’Connor at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, are to run concurrently.

Fiona Doyle's father was sentenced to 12 years in jail with three suspended in 2015 for raping her, after the original sentence of 12 years with nine suspended was found to be too lenient.

Fiona Doyle
Fiona Doyle

Ms Doyle said she thinks that Humphries' sentence was also too lenient and she said she hopes it is changed upon appeal.

Speaking on Liveline on RTE Radio One, she said: "I'm absolutely sickened, it's so disheartening to hear this day after day that these paedophiles are getting such ridiculous sentences, it's unbelievable.

"It's never balanced against the crime, what he's done was to groom and sexually abuse a young girl, who will be affected for the rest of her lfie.

"He gets two and a half years, he could get a third off for good behaviour and remission.

"I hope and pray that the DPP will appeal the leniency of this sentence because it is absolutely appalling, the whole trial was really.

"I think he should have got life to be honest."

Concerned: Noeline Blackwell
Concerned: Noeline Blackwell

Read More: Former journalist Tom Humphries jailed for two-and-a-half years for the defilement of a child

Noeline Blackwell, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said she also feels the sentence should be reviewed.

Ms Blackwall said on Newstalk: "We may need to look at sentencing as well but certainly just the implementation of sentencing is what is important about this case.

"A view was taken that because the person had had a high position and wasn’t anymore that seemed to be the key that was deciding the length of sentence – not the level of harm that this man purposefully did many, many times to a small girl."

Judge O'Connor considered letters from two "close friends" of Humphries, which some Liveline listeners said shouldn't be allowed.

Caller Tony Garland explained: "Character references shouldn't be allowed unless a person is certified mentally ill and isn't allowed to testify.

"The reason I'm saying that is because you could be the most wonderful person under the sun with all your mates and on social media and then you could be a completely different person.

"Under all walks of life, character references are excuses, that's what they are - an excuse."

Read More: 'A friend is there through thick and thin' - sports writer David Walsh vows to stand by Tom Humphries

Tara Gallagher also said that bringing an abuser through the judicial system can be draining for those affected.

She said: "My heart goes out to these young kids who go through this, if you go through the court system you feel broken at the end of it.

"He (the attacker) could get a couple of years and then be out in six months."

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