Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin, speaking at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, expressed a frustration shared by many of his fellow citizens when he wondered if there was any point in sending people convicted of crime, or crimes, to jail.
He was speaking in the case of a serial fraudster he had sent to jail for 18 months but had served only five months. In an earlier case, in November, 2018, the judge jailed Emma Fehily for two and a half years but in that instance she served only five months.
“There is much made of white-collar crime and that courts don’t take it seriously. I take it seriously. Releasing her does not take it seriously.
There is no point in me following it (with another custodial sentence),” said Judge Ó Donnabháin. He added that Fehily had shown “absolutely no remorse” and sentenced sent to jail for 12 months, which was suspended.
How long she might serve depends on prison authorities which undermines our courts.
One of the basic obligations of a state is to protect its citizens. In this instance, and unfortunately many more like it, that duty has been neglected.