'David has made a bad mistake and Donal Og has made a bad mistake' - Paul Kimmage on those who wrote character references for Tom Humphries
Sunday Independent journalist Paul Kimmage has said that Sunday Times sportswriter David Walsh and Cork hurling legend Donal Og Cusack made 'very bad mistakes' in writing character references for paedophile Tom Humphries.
The former Irish Times sports journalist Humphries will be sentenced later this month for child sex offences, and it emerged at a court hearing in early October that Walsh and Cusack had written letters to the court on his behalf.
The duo came in for criticism for lending their voice to someone who had pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting a child, and speaking on Claire Byrne Live, Kimmage stated that Walsh and Cusack were wrong to write the letters in support of Humphries.
"I don't think there is any justification, or would ever be a justification, for writing a character reference in a case like that," Kimmage said.
"David has made a very, very bad mistake and Donal Og Cusack has made a very bad mistake but I don't think they are complicit in what Tom did. I don't believe in the lynchmob trying to hang them from a height because what they did, I believe they did in good faith. They did it out of the best intentions possible and they were ill-advised. They made a mistake."
Kimmage also revealed that he went to see Humphries after he had tried to take his own life after being confronted with his crimes by his family.
"I know Tom, I don't think anyone who has had an interest in sport in this country wouldn't know Tom," Kimmage said.
"I went to London for ten years and towards the end of my time in London I found out that he was being investigated for these charges that we know now. I went to see Tom, and I heard he had tried to take his own life. I went in to see Tom in St Patrick's. What I saw was pitiful. A man who was in a dreadful state, who knew he had made a dreadful mistake and whose life was totally destroyed."
Kimmage also revealed that he had decided to step away from his friendship with Humphries during the last few years to 'let justice take its course'.
"I am absolutely horrified," Kimmage said.
"It is incomprehensible what he did.
"I had to ask myself, what is the right thing to do? I haven't seen him in three years.
"Rightly or wrongly, I decided to step away and let justice take its course."