FIONA’S RELIEF AT DECISION
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Bail was revoked within days, however, following a public outcry at O’Brien’s release.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.’