From DONEGAL DEMOCRAT, 10 0CTOBER 2002
A 49 year old native of West Donegal received a two-month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay 2,500 euro compensation at Tuesday’s sitting of Dungloe District Court when he pleaded guilty to a charge of sexually assaulting a seven year old female. The incident took place on a date unknown between August 1 and September 30 1997.
Mr Sean Boner, solicitor, told the hearing that his client’s connections with his native area had now been severed and a house he had there sold. He produced a copy of the sale to verify this.
Judge John O’Donnell said he was most impressed by the accused’s wife in what must have been a very difficult situation for her. Her support was very beneficial for the accused, he said.
He imposed the two-month sentence and suspended it for a year and ordered a certificate be issued to place the defendant on the sex offenders register. He also confirmed his ban on the publication of the defendant’s name.
Mr Frank Dorrian, solicitor, who was holding a watching brief for the injured party questioned the publication ban saying his client had no difficulty with the defendant being named. He added it was common knowledge in any event who the perpetrator was in the locality and any protection of the victim had been lost. He argued the Judge’s decision only served now to protect the defendant and queried whether the Judge’s ban prevent4d her from naming the defendant if she so wished.
“The point I am making is that your decision effectively injuncts her for naming him,” he said.
Judge O’Donnell said he had to weigh up the wisdom of naming the accused against what was best for the injured party and perhaps it was a case of ‘the least said the sooner mended’.
He said he was also awarding the injured party the sum of 2,500 euro compensation to be used for counselling purposes adding this was without prejudice to any other action she might take.
He added she could not breach the court’s order and would be well advised to take advice on the matter. He reiterated his order was in the interests of her rehabilitation.