FIONA’S RE­LIEF AT DECISION

Bray People - - FRONT PAGE - By FIN­TAN LAMBE

ABUSE vic­tim Fiona Doyle said that she can breathe a sigh of re­lief now that her fa­ther’s sen­tence was deemed too le­nient.

‘I’m just so glad that I fought the decision, that I didn’t give up,’ she said.

Pa­trick O’Brien (75) of Old­court Av­enue in Bray pleaded guilty at his trial in 2013 to 16 counts of rape and in­de­cent as­sault be­tween 1973 and 1982.

He re­ceived a sen­tence of 12 years in prison with nine sus­pended and bail granted pend­ing an ap­peal.

Bail was re­voked within days, how­ever, fol­low­ing a pub­lic out­cry at O’Brien’s re­lease.

Last week the Court of Ap­peal de­cided the sen­tence was un­duly le­nient and the sen­tence will be re­viewed.

A new sen­tence will be im­posed on Jan­uary 26 and the court will give rea­sons for its decision on Jan­uary 19.

Fiona Doyle was just three years of age when the abuse be­gan at her home, which was at that time in Dun Laoghaire.

‘I CAN breathe a sigh of re­lief and en­joy go­ing into the New Year. My daugh­ter is get­ting mar­ried in April and I can walk her down the aisle with this weight gone off my shoul­ders.’

Speak­ing from her home in Wex­ford in the wake of Wed­nes­day’s Court of Ap­peal decision that her fa­ther’s sen­tence was too le­nient, Bray na­tive Fiona Doyle said she was re­lieved that it will be re­viewed.

‘I’m just so glad that I fought the decision, that I didn’t give up, be­cause I was wor­ried about other abuse vic­tims who were pos­si­bly go­ing to the au­thor­i­ties with their own sto­ries of abuse,’ she said.

‘I was wor­ried that the fall­out from my story would put them off, and they would feel it wouldn’t be worth go­ing through that,’ she said. ‘I said to my­self “Thank God I just didn’t give up.”’

After the orig­i­nal hear­ing, Fiona had feared the ap­peal to the sen­tence would take too long, and her fa­ther would be out of prison be­fore the ap­peal was heard.

She said the fact that he’s still in cus­tody means there’s no chance of him be­ing re­leased be­fore the sen­tenc­ing date in Jan­uary.

The past two years have been tough for Fiona. Her un­cle also ad­mit­ted he had abused her, but died a few days after be­ing ar­rested.

‘He ad­mit­ted the abuse to me, but I never got my day in court,’ she stated.

Fiona told her story in her 2012 book ‘ Too Many Tears’, and she said she got an ‘in­cred­i­ble re­ac­tion’ after it.

She now spends what­ever time she can meet­ing other abuse vic­tims, try­ing to support them on their jour­ney.

She had words of en­cour­age­ment to those who have con­cerns about the le­gal sys­tem. ‘I was deal­ing with the old Court of Ap­peal, and that’s why it took two years,’ she said. ‘My case is now be­ing dealt with by the new Court of Ap­peal. I can now say they won’t have to wait two years. They are han­dling cases pretty quickly. Ef­forts are be­ing made to im­prove the sys­tem.’

Fiona Doyle.

Fiona Doyle

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.