Judges have always been a law unto themselves – pun intended and Gombeen Man has exposed a few of the more idiotic goings on in courts around the country. Another to add to the list is the Honourable (?) Judge Donagh McDonagh (I’m always wary of those that have the same first and last names).
The venerable judge sat in the case of Garda Gerard Curtis, accused of using excessive force against John Paul Maughan, a Dublin scumbag, following a high-speed car chase. The brave Garda smashed the windows of the car and dragged said scumbag out before laying into him with a baton. Now, whatever about the scumbag deserving a kicking instead of a trial, it is surely up to the brave Garda to show restraint when in possession of a weapon rather than using it to tenderise fleeing suspects.
The judge ordered that the jury in the case acquit the brave Garda because the prosecution had “failed to disprove the accused was acting in self-defence when he hit the suspect with his baton.” What a great example of using words to confuse. Was it not up to the brave Garda to prove that he had acted in self-defence? After all, that is what would happen if you or I decided to take a stick to a scumbag. His Honour equated the assault by the brave Garda to that inflicted on Rodney King by members of the brave LA police force. Even more bizarrely, the judge also said, after viewing CCTV footage, “[t]his to me is a case of a single Garda overreacting.” He went on to castigate the 15 colleagues of the brave Garda for being partisan and maybe not being entirely truthful as to the facts of the beating. So, the brave Garda is ordered to be acquitted even though the judge thought that he used excessive force, nice use of one arm of the state to protect another.
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Here, in a nutshell, is what we have become as a society. Just a few short weeks after the odious findings in the Murphy Report comes a story that could have been fashioned by John McGahern. A predator on the prowl in a Listowel nightclub sized up a victim and, after buying her one drink, had to hold her up as she collapsed in a semi-comatose state. Despite her protestations Foley insisted on taking her home. Except that they only got as far as the skip in the car park, where Foley “sexually assaulted” the woman.
Unlike the vast majority of rape cases that never get as far as the courtroom, the victim in this case got a chance to fight for some sort of justice to what had happened to her. Showing courage and conviction the woman faced down her attacker while being further demeaned by Foley, apparently he had found “yer wan” beside the skip until presented with the small matter of cctv footage showing him carrying her to the skip. Equally unusually, particularly in Kerry courtrooms, the jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict. Castlegregory parish priest Fr Seán Sheehy got up to sing Foley’s praises – the church backs a sex offender, where have we seen that before? He was, “respectful of women”, said the bloke who thinks a virgin can give birth. Sheehy also called the woman, “the alleged victim”.
But in a scene that could only come from Peter Greenaway’s imagination on the day of sentencing a procession of Foley’s neighbours and friends stood in line to shake his hand and commiserate with him. In the courtroom. In front of the victim. While the court ushers and cops stood back and let them. The judge in the case, Justice McDonagh didn’t witness this appalling piece of theatre but hopefully he will call for the names of every one of these immoral bullies and hold them in contempt of court. McDonagh also castigated the character reference given by Sheehy and gave Foley a seven-year sentence with two suspended. In reality Foley will probably only serve about three years and will probably come home to a heroes welcome and the freedom of Listowel. Meanwhile the real victim in this case finds herself shunned by the Listowel people and will never have anything remotely like a happy life in that town.
Here is an email address for Sheehy, if you’d like to send him a christmas greeting: email@example.com
And here are the contact details of the Kerry Rape Crisis Centre, which would make better use of your donations than the church would:
Kerry Rape Crisis Centre
11 Denny Street
Tralee, Co. Kerry
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