The disgraceful scene in court in Tralee yesterday of a line of some 50 people expressing support for a man convicted of a brutal sexual assault in Listowel, Co Kerry, sent entirely the wrong message. The incident, which occurred before the judge entered the courtroom, was obviously organised beforehand.
In pronouncing sentence yesterday Circuit Court Judge Donagh McDonagh stated that Danny Foley’s attitude towards his victim in court was clearly designed to demean and denigrate her in the eyes of the jury and the public. He sentenced him to seven years in jail, with the last two years suspended.
Amid the air of tension afterwards the victim had to be escorted by gardaí out of the courthouse by a side door. The whole thing raises serious questions about society’s attitude to such crimes. Such a demonstration should not happen within a courtroom. It was insulting to both the court and the victim.
There can be no place whatever for people behaving as if the perpetrator of such a crime is either a hero deserving of public support, or a victim of anything other than his own lust and criminal stupidity.
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