Tuesday, January 24, 2006


O'Donoghue gets away with 4 years

This is a dark day for the Irish judicial process.

Wayne O'Donoghue has been sentenced to just four years in prison for the manslaughter of Robert Holohan.

Last month O'Donoghue, a 21-year-old engineering student from Ballyedmond near Midleton in Co Cork, was acquitted of murder but convicted of the manslaughter of 11-year-old Robert in January 2005. O'Donoghue admitted killing his next-door neighbour. He said that it was an accident after a row erupted when Robert threw stones at his car.

Earlier today Robert Holohan's mother, Majella, addressed the court. She claimed that semen was found on Robert's body when it was discovered dumped in a ditch at Inch strand in east Cork last January.

Mrs Holohan said that her family's suffering following Robert's death was heartbreaking and indescribable.

She asked why would he have been killed for throwing stones; why were images deleted from his mobile phone; and what was Robert doing in Wayne O'Donoghue's bedroom at 7.20am on one occasion when he was supposed to have been on a sleepover with a friend.

Prior to imposing sentence, Mr Justice Paul Carney warned Majella Holohan to prepare herself.

He told her that the sentence he was going to impose would be upsetting; he said that he would endeavour to explain what he was doing but there was no getting away from the fact that it would upset the mother.

Mr Justice Carney then set out the aggravating and mitigating factors and imposed a sentence of four years.

I'm not so much outraged by this news as I am sick to my stomach. My heart goes out to Mrs Holohan at this time as she must be reeling at this decision.

This family has suffered enough and now they have suffered again, this time at the hands of the Irish judicial system.

Mrs Holohan's testimony raised some dark and disturbing issues. Semen on the body, images deleted from a phone, why was Robert in O'Donoghue's bedroom unbeknownst to his family?

Four years is the result?

It is a tragic case of that we can all agree, but I feel this is a tragic sentence and a rotten day for justice in this country.

The system has failed here.


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