January 17, 2003
Porn chef 'fine' fury

By Ralph Riegel and Frank Khan in The Irish Independent

A WAVE of outrage was growing last night over the sentence imposed on celebrity chef Tim Allen for possessing child pornography.

Watch RTE Primetime's discussion on the trial and sentence.

He is being allowed to do community service instead of nine months in jail after admitting the charge.

Mr Allen, the husband of Ballymaloe's Darina Allen, also agreed to pay €40,000 to a children's charity, leading to claims that his wealth had allowed him to avoid prison.

Fine Gael's justice spokesman John Deasy said there appeared to be one law for the rich and another for the poor.

"Mr Allen was convicted of a very serious, heinous crime and deserves a fitting punishment," he said. "Instead, his wealth has allowed him to avoid a jail sentence. He was sentenced to community service instead of a jail sentence because he was able to pay a fine of €40,000."

Judge Michael Patwell anticipated such criticism when he handed down the sentence. "I am always conscious that I deal with the rich and the poor in an even-handed way," he said.

But Mr Deasy insisted: "Anyone convicted of a similar crime would undoubtedly end up with a jail sentence if they did not have the means to pay such a fine."

Mr Allen will also go on the sex offenders' register. Almost 1,000 images of child pornography, some of children as young as five, were found by gardai on his computers following a raid on his home and the world famous Ballymaloe cookery school.

A leading campaigner against child pornography hit out at "very highly paid lawyers" defending people charged with the offence. Muireann Ni Bhriain, director of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said they were doing so when there were "real children in those images and they are images of actual sexual abuse".

Cork Rape Crisis Centre director Mary Crilly said the sentence was "inappropriate".

"I think it's inappropriate for somebody who has pleaded guilty to downloading and paying for child pornography to then get out of it by just paying money again," she said.

Ms Crilly said there was a genuine danger of ordinary people perceiving that a jail sentence could be avoided by donating large sums of money to charity.

She also took issue with Judge Patwell's assertion that the media had punished Mr Allen through "deplorable" coverage of the case in pre-trial reports.

"I think the media has been very good to Tim Allen and Darina. I think if anything the media adopted a watch-and-wait kind of attitude," she said.

In its reaction to recent convictions for possession of child pornography, the ISPCC said the child protection implications were "immense".

Chief executive Paul Gilligan warned that anyone convicted of child pornography must be treated as a sex offender.

Judge Patwell imposed the sentence on Mr Allen (52) at Midleton District Court after he pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography at his home on May 27, 2002.

The TV chef - represented in court yesterday by a high-powered team including a senior counsel, barrister, solicitor and public relations consultant - downloaded 94 images from a Texas child pornography site and viewed a total of 977 images of naked children, some as young as five years.

Under the terms of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act (1998), Mr Allen faced a maximum District Court sentence of 12 months in prison and/or a fine of €1,900.

If Judge Patwell had refused jurisdiction and the case was referred to Cork Circuit Criminal Court, the maximum sentence is five years and/or a fine of €6,200.

Posted by paul at January 17, 2003 09:37 AM
Comments

I wonder how often over the years did Judge Patwell meet the Allens at social gatherings or in Ballymalloe House????

Posted by: on January 17, 2003 11:29 AM

I was amazed to hear, incidentally, that the organisation which is getting the 40,000 has had fundraisers run for it in Ballymaloe.

Personally, the only way left open to the public to punish 'Rich Tim' is to take his wealth away. I won't be buying any more products associated with Ballymaloe House, and I'll be asking my local supermarkets to do the same.

I'm not saying that we should go overboard on this one case, but in the absence of a reasonable sentence, the public has a duty to make it's outrage known. Incidentally, I heard some commentators mention that got off lighter he was a first-time-offender - try tell that to a first-time-victim!

Posted by: david on January 17, 2003 01:06 PM

I feel so angry about this. Downloading photographs of children being raped or buggered or molested or assaulted is not a victimless crime. For every photograph there is a victim of sexual abuse. For every victim there is a person living with a life sentence. Somebody said on radio today that being placed on the sex offender's register will mean that his frredom is curtailed for five years. I wish my sentence had only been for five years, not forty-five and on-going.

RTE news in its reports said that "some of the children in the photos had been engaging in sexual activity." Children DO NOT ENGAGE in sexual activity. They are forced, raped. They are not capable of "Engaging" in sexual activity.

Has nothing changed, even with all the recent publicity and apologies. A fine of €40,000 to street children in India or aomewhere. There are plenty of children's charities in Ireland strapped for cash who are trying to help child victims of abuse. There are plenty of adults in Ireland who cannot afford to have decent therapy for the effects of childhood sexual abuse. Would a local charity have been too close to home? I do not begrudge the street children the money, but a charity involved in sexual abuse might have made a better point.

How dare his therapist say there is an unlikelihood of his re-offending? How many times was this said in the past about perverts who went on to abuse again and again?

I am so angry. Thanks for the opportunity to say it.
Liz.

Posted by: Liz on January 17, 2003 06:29 PM

I wonder am I afraid of voicing my anger and upset - is that what's wrong with me? I just don't know. But this evening and today, I am so disabled by all of this its like I have flu.

There is no voice of a victim in all the sensational reporting ( or very little ) I'd really love the public to hear about the life sentences we all serve, as well as the punishment Tim Allen will receive. If money could only solve it......And yet, there is no decent free therapy on the scale it is needed other than drug therapy which I think is another abuse.

The confusion in my head is deafening.

Eleanor

Posted by: Eleanor on January 17, 2003 09:08 PM

So now we are akin to 'howling dogs' according to the defence council for Tim Allen recently found guilty for downloading child pornography on the Internet. By we, I mean those of us who have an unconditional aversion toward these repulsive sick perverted individuals. Wealth and status becomes acutely apparent with immunity from the full weight of Irish law where the new elite with their 'new money' are assured leniency by the judicial system which welcomes them as one of their own. These same courts will pummel the remainder of us into the ground while declaring our supplication persona non grata for the most trivial of offences. I am reminded of an article I read on the Internet recently 'Unholy Alliance' which is a 'must read' for anyone wishing to know how the law in Ireland is stacked in favour of these untouchables, which I include here the Catholic Church. I mention the church for here we have a religious cult in Alliance with the State exercising its power and wealth to minimise liability for the horrendous damage done to our children over decades through sexual and physical abuse. It is not a case that we have a few bad apples in the barrel who surface periodically to challenge our true national identity as honourable decent people but rather the very barrel itself which is contaminated by these low life infestations. Look not to Rome for deliverance for their world is passing and with it this Unholy Alliance. Failure now to remodel the barrel for a better tomorrow will surly provide the existing plague of manipulators ample time to re-invent themselves, resulting with generations to come revisiting the horrors we have witnessed. Survivors of clerical sex abuse must seize the moment to hasten this unholy alliance speedy departure through their collective voices and, like 'howling dogs', collectively demand - enough of your hypocrisy and deception - thank you.

Posted by: on January 17, 2003 10:23 PM

So now we are akin to 'howling dogs' according to the defence council for Tim Allen recently found guilty for downloading child pornography on the Internet. By we, I mean those of us who have an unconditional aversion toward these repulsive sick perverted individuals. Wealth and status becomes acutely apparent with immunity from the full weight of Irish law where the new elite with their 'new money' are assured leniency by the judicial system which welcomes them as one of their own. These same courts will pummel the remainder of us into the ground while declaring our supplication persona non grata for the most trivial of offences. I am reminded of an article I read on the Internet recently 'Unholy Alliance' which is a 'must read' for anyone wishing to know how the law in Ireland is stacked in favour of these untouchables, which I include here the Catholic Church. I mention the church for here we have a religious cult in Alliance with the State exercising its power and wealth to minimise liability for the horrendous damage done to our children over decades through sexual and physical abuse. It is not a case that we have a few bad apples in the barrel who surface periodically to challenge our true national identity as honourable decent people but rather the very barrel itself which is contaminated by these low life infestations. Look not to Rome for deliverance for their world is passing and with it this Unholy Alliance. Failure now to remodel the barrel for a better tomorrow will surly provide the existing plague of manipulators ample time to re-invent themselves, resulting with generations to come revisiting the horrors we have witnessed. Survivors of clerical sex abuse must seize the moment to hasten this unholy alliance speedy departure through their collective voices and, like 'howling dogs', collectively demand - enough of your hypocrisy and deception - thank you.

Posted

Posted by: Ron on January 17, 2003 10:36 PM

He would make a good prison cook.

Posted by: Justice on January 18, 2003 12:36 AM

hi colm again we see (irish judicial jurisprudence)at its best???????????????????????for the wealthy and famous //////////ex letterfrack victim

Posted by: angry on January 18, 2003 05:43 AM

this is a letter i wrote this morning which i am sending to the times.

Dear Sir

On the 17th of January Pat Kenny made, on his morning radio show, a rather odd and inappropriate comment. He described Tim Allen downloading images of children being abused off the Internet as ‘taking a stupid risk’. Conceivably leading many listeners to ask themselves if Pat meant that if Mr Allen had been more careful in acquiring the pictures then all this trouble could have been avoided.
Later on that morning Kenny failed to challenge a woman who asserted that men who view pornography, which is by definition “Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal” and men who view child pornography which by necessity is obtained by coercion, manipulation, sexual violation and differing degrees of violence which can include murder of children, as one and the same. Describing the former as “smug men” who shouldn’t think they are any different from those using child pornography. Kenny remained silent as she made the point and reiterated it.

Kenny defended Tim Allen’s financial transaction as a legitimate means of making some type of reparation. Claiming that no matter how rich you were you would feel the loss of this amount of money. Here is a man involved on the outer fringes of child sexual abuse who after being exposed seeks to limit the damage done to himself by offering money to a charity that amongst its others objectives tries to protect children from men like him. Pat Kenny of course was oblivious to the tastelessness of the gesture illustrating his inability to comprehend the seriousness of Tim Allen’s actions.
.
Pat Kenny’s only remark in defence of the children featured was most telling: his flat & dispassionately put “this is not a victimless crime, behind every picture is a real child” was made with all the conviction of someone who hadn’t a clue about what they were talking. He could not add to the statement with any example or description of the actual degree of victimisation involved in the process of coercing children into a situation where they can be photographed. This was the lowlight of Kenny’s pathetic performance. Who on earth does Pat Kenny think he needs to convince that children do not wilfully put themselves forward to be raped, abused and degraded in front of a camera for an audience of perverts.

Pat Kenny made two complex arguments in defence of Tim Allen. By failing to elaborate or cite the legitimacy of either they served only to support Allen. They are addressed here as it is felt they were not sufficiently answered on either the Kenny live program or the late late show of the 17th.

Kenny argued that: ‘it can become an addiction’. It was unclear whether this was an explanation of Mr Allen’s behaviour, or was intended to mean that his actions were outside of his control, thus relieving him of at least some of his responsibility.
How exactly an individual’s self developed compulsion to do something can excuse or justify him doing it is again unclear. If viewing pictures of children being sexually abused is an addiction, is it in the same league as addiction to heroin or in the same league as addiction to playing bridge? If addiction mitigates crime then what of serial killing, serial rape, arson or any anti-social activity that is continually performed in order to satisfy the perpetrators ‘addiction ‘ to it?
Regardless the point had no basis in fact as it overlooked the aspect of choice. This was subsequently pointed out to Kenny by UCC Professor Max Taylor on the late late show. A person chooses to acquire pictures of children being sexually abused for their own self-gratification. Either consciously or unconsciously they must weigh up the pain and distress of the children forced to ‘pose’ against the pleasure obtained from looking at them do so. Ultimately judging in their own favour over the child’s basic right to be free from fear, suffering and pain.

Kenny also argued in favour of the abuser that: some people who thought they had no sexual interest in children became interested in them after being exposed to these types of images. What point Pat Kenny was making here? Was it that some people cannot help being aroused by children’s asexual, underdeveloped body’s, or pictures of their bodies being manipulated sexually by adults or other children? Or was it that anyone once exposed to such images could in principal develop a desire for them therefore Mr Allen in either case can not be held responsible for what he has done?
I think it would be fair to say that most people would not suddenly develop a desire for the sexless qualities of a child’s body upon seeing them naked or abused on a computer screen. It could possibly be argued that a person who seeks to find pleasure in such images cannot be blamed for feelings over which they claim to have no control. Even if this is true when an individual takes an imaginary situation and chooses to act it into reality then blame can be justly apportioned to him for the actions he takes at the expense of an innocent human being

In this case: Tim Allen choosing to participate in the supply and demand industry of child sex abuse must accept responsibility for his complicity.

To conclude Pat Kenny’s defended the mentality of the abuser and yet never really clarified the essential points of a fair and honest discussion. Which are that both sides of the story need to be told, the Allen family itself is innocent of these crimes and should not be victimised. The ‘let em hang’ mob mentality has not and will not eradicate child abuse. Kenny substituted these points for: he has tried to make amends/ he has paid the price at the hands of the media / people can become involved by just being exposed to these types of pictures/ its an addiction/ he took a stupid risk but remember its not a victimless crime.

On the 17th of January Pat Kenny showed himself for what he truly is: a weasel of a man unfit for the position of facilitating such discussions. By opening his ignorant mouth in defence of Tim Allen he made the plight of many suffering children in the world today that bit more hopeless.

Sincerely yours

Dermot Brannick

Posted by: on January 20, 2003 08:53 AM

I think Pat Kenny tried to play devil's advocate to an extent and you would need to also listen to what he said on his Radio Show. However, I respect the views expressed here.

Far worse has been written by Bruce Arnold in the Independent (20-Jan) and by Kevin Myers in the Irish Times (21-Jan). The Irish Times requires a password - his article is more of the old biased Colonel Blimp "Airfix Soldiers Under the Bed" mentality that Myers is infamous for:

"Allen family

But nothing whatever is achieved by the victimising of the innocent Allen family, except a further triumph of primitive evil. Myrtle Allen is one of the greatest Irish people of the past century. She gave confidence and inspiration, happiness and pleasure, to many thousands of people; and her daughter-in-law has followed her splendid example.

Those who have cancelled cookery courses at Ballymaloe in protest at Tim Allen's behaviour are as much "passive" members of the lynch mob as Tim Allen was a "passive" abuser of children. To show loyalty to this fine and decent family now will one of the vital tests of how civilised we really are. -"

However, Myers conveniently forgets that it was the ALLEN family who chose to bring itself into the fray via their PR stunt at the Court, assisted by Pat Heneghan - the PR specialist who also specialises in crisis management for the Catholic Church - see: http://www.hpr.ie/team_ph.htm. Why not send him an e-mail and ask him to explain what he means by "crisis". E-mail: [email protected]

Posted by: Austin on January 21, 2003 11:23 PM

I'm not so sure it was Kenny playing devils advocate but more that he is a self styled 'expert' on every topic he speaks about. I listened to both the radio show and watched the late late show and was infuriated. And then to listen to his rant on Monday morning about how Dublin’s problem with joyriders could be solved by 'putting them away for a long long time' was incredible considering there was no such reasoning on Friday morning when he defended Allen.

I saw the times today and read in anguish 'An Irish man's diary' and to be honest I am almost becoming physically sick at the level of ignorance of these journalists who see fit to address the nation. On reading Myers's article the first impression any normal person must have gotten is 'what in God's name is he on about?'.

I will send Pat Heneghan that email and I feel this whole thing is a disgusting sham and have to ask why is no one defending the children in a meaningful and useful way?

Posted by: D Brannick on January 22, 2003 01:39 AM

Oh ... let's go to the stoning !

Posted by: Ould Mr Brennan on January 23, 2003 11:37 AM

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.

Posted by: Eibhir on January 30, 2003 09:25 AM

People should make their own response:

http://members.fortunecity.com/ballymaloe/

Posted by: mfg on April 1, 2003 02:20 PM

He should be made to pay, certainly - but the public stoning has meant that his whole family is....

Posted by: on May 13, 2003 07:06 AM
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