Saturday, 23 March 2013

Lenient Sentence?

There have been some reports in the press that I was 'outraged' by the leniency of the sentence. This is untrue. I have had 24 hours to analyse it and my views have shifted slightly. I still believe he started serving his own personal sentence 5 years ago when he was tracked down.

However I feel the Irish Justice system left the Judge with very little option. I am not a lawyer but what concerns me are the signals that are sent out to those future victims who may come forward, and endure a difficult legal and courtroom process, may be dissuaded from doing so unless they believe their journey will be one where the ultimate punishment fits the crime.

It also sends out the wrong signals to perpetrators of abuse against children, that the system is not a deterrent.

The fact that current sentencing guidelines for historical abuse, pre early 80's, is such that the guilty party can only be given a 2 year sentence because that was the maximum at the time of the offence, seems slightly antiquated. The current maximum sentence for this crimes is ten years. There seems to be an imbalance which needs to be addressed.

As far as McCabe's sentence is concerned the Judge listed the mitigating circumstances. The fact that he did plead guilty. The fact he issued an apology, she also took into account his age and medical condition. Whether the sentence should run concurrently is another issue and I am not in a position to comment.

I perhaps will never know how long he will serve for what he did to me, nor will any of the victims, but he has served time. This is important because there are so many victims who never get to court and never given a reason why, by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Considering that victims of this particular crime carry with them a sense of guilt and shame most of their lives and somehow feel responsible for what happened, then I would urge the DPP to be more open in these cases, as far as giving a valid reason not to prosecute. At least then the victim is aware that it's not because they are not believed.

Being believed is such a huge issue for victims of sexual crimes - current or historical.

1 comment:

  1. The justice system will have to be changed it's definitely out of date. Your courage will help others to come forward. At least he's behind bars where he belongs. You are a shining light for others to follow. I'm sure your mam & dad are looking down smiling with pride at their courageous son. Tom & Rita in Naas


Thank you for your comment on this blog entry, James