On the 20th of October, 2016, a 59 year old man called John Smith invited a 15 year old girl, who he did not know, into his van on the pretext of asking her for directions. Once she was in his van, he took out his penis and began masturbating in front of her. Later that day, he did the same thing again. Mr. Smith has four children of his own. He was in court this morning to be sentenced, before Judge Martin Nolan. The Journal.ie has the details, with emphasis added:

“Judge Martin Nolan said that to say it was unusual behaviour “is an understatement”. He said he could accept the submission of counsel that the offending was at the lowest end of this type.

He said while there was no certainty, it was probably unlikely that Smith would offend to this degree in the future. He said it was unjust to imprison him based on what he did.

He sentenced Smith to two years imprisonment, which he suspended in full on strict conditions including that the accused follow all directions of the Probation Service for 12 months.”

It is important not to get hysterical about issues like this, but equally, it’s important to examine the words a Judge uses, and what they mean. In the first instance, Nolan says that this is at the “lowest end” of offending of this type. Is it?

A 59 year old father of four meets a 15 year old girl, someone 44 years younger than himself, entices her into his van, produces his erect penis, and starts masturbating in front of her. Is that really “the lowest end” of sexual offences? Is it really “unjust” to imprison somebody for that?

If the answer to those questions is “yes”, then we have some clarity, for perverts everywhere. Let it be known, if you are a dirty old goat, that you can simply whip it out at any time in front of a child, and that society will not imprison you for that because to do so would be “unjust”.

If prison has any purpose at all, it is to protect the rest of us, and our children, from people who would endanger them. Somebody who feels no impediment to indecently exposing himself to children is, you might think, the most obvious case of someone who would endanger the rest of society. Sending such a person to prison is the basic purpose of having prisons in the first place. If not someone like him, then, who?

Well, Judge Martin Nolan has the answers here, too:

Circuit Court Judge Martin Nolan hit the headlines earlier this year when he jailed a food importer for six years for not paying €1.6m in garlic taxes.

Well, that’s very clear – if you import garlic without paying taxes on it, you go to jail.

What if you distribute child pornography?

“A 28-year-old Dublin man who viewed and distributed child pornography has been given a suspended sentence…..

Judge Martin Nolan noted the Court of Criminal Appeal had indicated that even where possession and distribution is present in a case, the court could still consider a non-custodial sentence.

He said he considered the distribution in this case to be at the lower end of seriousness. He said it was not general distribution but to “like-minded individuals.”

That last line is worth noting, by the way. Who does Judge Nolan think Paedophiles usually circulate child pornography to – people who aren’t interested? If that statement is taken at face value, then the man is, and let’s be clear here, too stupid to be on the bench.

Then we had the case of the late Veronica Guerin’s brother, Martin Guerin, found guilty of possessing child sex abuse images involving children as young as two years old:

“Judge Nolan said that unfortunately for society and the court, cases such as this come before the court ‘with some frequency’. He said a psychological report before the court stated it was unlikely Guerin would offend in this manner again and it ‘seems unjust’ to imprison him.”

It seems unjust to imprison somebody for possessing, and deriving sexual gratification, from images of a two year old child being sexually abused?

Okay. What about a man who enters his neighbours house, gets into her bed, and sexually assaults her while her son is in the bed beside her? Jail time, surely? Nope:

A Dublin father who sexually assaulted his neighbour while her eight-year-old son lay in the bed beside was given a two-year, suspended sentence. The child woke up during the assault, recognised the man and told him to “get off my Mammy” before he leaned over and tried to push him away.

The man later told gardaí that he had no idea how he ended up in the woman’s bed and said he thought the victim was his partner when he began touching her

….Judge Martin Nolan said the man had given “an explanation of sorts” for what he did that night but added “I don’t find it very believable, to put it bluntly”.

He suspended the entire two-year sentence after he said that he didn’t think, considering the man’s lack of relevant convictions and genuine remorse, that the crime justified an immediate custodial sentence.

Alright, what about straight up domestic violence against a woman, leaving her permanently scarred?

Nope.

Jane Ruffino (37) said she believes the justice system has failed her after a judge granted a suspended sentence to her attacker on condition that he pay her more than €5,000 in compensation.
Judge Martin Nolan imposed a two-and-a-half year sentence which he suspended on condition that he pay her €2,000 immediately and another €3,000 within a year as a token of remorse for the attack that left her with a permanent scar on her face.

What about a man with four (FOUR!) previous convictions for assault, who attacked a 17 year old girl because he “wanted to screw her”?

Nope.

Graham Griffiths (29) later told gardaí that he felt he was “under some magnetic force” and “it must have been the hormones” that caused him to attack the 17-year-old girl.

He had been at a drugs party the previous night and later admitted to gardaí that he had taken hallucinogenic drugs along with alcohol.

After his arrest he told gardai he wanted to “screw” the victim and that “I wanted to make her feel inferior because I am not on the same level emotionally.” He later added; “it must have been the hormones”.

Griffiths, of The Saltings, Annagassan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting the girl on April 17th, 2011.

He is originally from Dublin but has been living in Louth with his girlfriend for the last six years. The couple plan to get married. He has previous convictions, four of which are for assault causing harm.

Judge Martin Nolan imposed a four year sentence which he suspended in full on conditions including that he pay €15,000 to his victim within one year “to bring home the seriousness of what he has done”.

We could go on, and on, and on, and on. There is no end to the list of awful Martin Nolan decisions. He is relentlessly soft on sex offenders, to the extent that one can say, objectively, that his courtroom makes a mockery of any sense of justice.

The Oireactas has the power to impeach, and remove, Judges. There is no excuse to allow Judge Nolan to continue on the bench, given his long track record of appalling decisions. It’s time to get rid of him.