Wrongfully convicted ex-nun to sue State

NORA WALL, the former nun wrongfully convicted of rape and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1999, is to sue the State for damages.

Her case is regarded as “open and shut” with only the amount of the damages to be determined. They are expected to be substantial.

Earlier this month, judges in the Court Of Criminal Appeal cleared the way for her legal redress when they ruled that there had been a “serious defect” in the administration of justice by the State in Nora Wall’s case.

The court declared her conviction for rape and indecent assault of a 10-year-old girl in a care home in Cappoquin, Co Waterford, as a miscarriage of justice, with Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns stating that the prosecution should never have been brought against the former nun.

Ms Wall, formerly Sister Dominic, now resides in the family home in the picturesque Nire Valley outside the village of Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford.

Her Dublin-based solicitor Sean Costelloe has confirmed that a claim for damages on behalf of Ms Wall would be submitted to Justice Minister Michael McDowell. Mr Costelloe said a detailed submission was being prepared and would be presented to the Justice minister shortly.

A cousin of Ms Wall, former Waterford County GAA Board chairman Paddy Joe Ryan, said she had to go through a living hell for almost 10 years, and more so since her wrongful conviction six and a half years ago.

“Fortunately, however, the people of the Nire stood steadfast in their support of Nora as did her countless friends,” he said.

“Nora will always be eternally grateful to them, but that can never obliterate the mental torture and the sheer living hell she has been put through over such a protracted period of time.”

No one would ever really know the extent of the great work his cousin had done for so many people and communities over the years, Mr Ryan said.

“To bring the charges that were brought against her was an outrage.”

Ms Wall’s worst day came in June 1999 when she and a man since deceased, Paul “Pablo” McCabe, were convicted of rape and indecent assault after a lengthy trial. Within a month, however, the conviction was overturned by the Court of Criminal Appeal with no opposition from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Since then, all of Nora Wall’s concentrations have been on securing the final judicial decision that would irrevocably clear her good name. This came on December 16 with the declaration that there had been a miscarriage of justice.

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