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The month in sentencing: A review

Earlier this month, Lisa Smith received a 15 month jail term for joining ISIS. ISIS is an organisation which, amongst other things, like beheading children, perpetrated the mass rape of an entire people, the Yazidis, in the territories it controlled. It enslaved women and children, and practiced barbarism on a scale unmatched in contemporary history. Lisa Smith, sitting on her couch in Dundalk, looked at all of that and said “I want in”.

So she got 15 months.

This is the same sentence, incidentally, as that doled out to Micheál O’Leidghin, an RTE journalist who was convicted earlier this year of fondling his lover without her consent during a night of passion. For that sexual assault, which O’Leidghin admitted, he received the same sentence as Lisa Smith, who joined ISIS, did.

Then there was the case of Paul Moody. The former Garda terrorized his partner for several years, stealing her cancer medication, abusing her, sending her relentless text messages, tearing out her hair. He got just over three years in jail.

Then we had the case of the Dart assault, heard before our old friend Martin Nolan:

A teenage boy who pushed his bike at a teenage girl on a Dart station, causing her to fall head-first off the platform and become briefly trapped beside a train, will avoid a detention sentence.

Handing down sentence, Judge Martin Nolan said that it was a “terrifying” experience for the girl, who was momentarily trapped between the train and the platform after being knocked over by the boy deliberately putting his bike in her path.

Judge Nolan said the boy deliberately turned his bike towards the girl, causing her to lose balance and fall between the platform and the train.

So, 15 months for joining ISIS, and nothing at all for almost killing someone by frightening them so much that they fell onto rail tracks.

What about this fellow – already, it must be said, serving two and a half years in prison for burglary when he came before – once again – Judge Nolan:

A man who subjected his ex-partner to a “humiliating” assault which left her badly bruised has been sentenced to 20 months in prison.

All of these people, by the way, will be eligible for the customary time off for good behaviour. Also, isn’t it interesting that the man was serving two and a half years in prison for burglary – a longer sentence than he got for beating up and humiliating his partner, and over a year longer than what Lisa Smith got for joining ISIS?

We’ll move on. What about a man who sexually assaulted a sleeping woman, having climbed in through her window in the middle of the night, and then took pictures of her? And then texted her the pictures bragging about what he had done? 39 months:

A man who sexually assaulted a sleeping woman has been jailed for 39 months, with the final nine months suspended.

The 38-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of the victim, had taken a photo of the woman and sent it to her along with a message in which he said he had performed a sex act on her.

Sleep safely in your beds, ladies, for Helen McEntee’s justice system has your back.

What about a man who stored €250,000 worth of painkillers to service a drug debt?

A man who said he agreed to store more than €250,000 worth of painkiller medication to service a drug debt has been jailed for 3½ years.

On October 30th, 2020, gardaí raided the home of Vincent O’Connor (41) in Ballymun, north Dublin and seized €14,500 worth of illegal drugs including cocaine and €16,000 in cash.

They also found €254,000 worth of prescription drugs. It is the view of gardaí that O’Connor was in the possession of the drugs to sell, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

If you’re keeping count, then you’ll know now that being caught with painkillers is worth more than twice what joining ISIS is, and gets you a harsher sentence than breaking into a woman’s room and sexually assaulting her.

Anyway, there’s more, but I thought it was worth running through July’s highlights. Readers can draw their own conclusions about how well the Justice System is working.

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