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Sunday 11 December 2016

Gerry O'Carroll: For all victims out there, this farcical sentence for rapist must be appealed

Magnus Meyer Hustveit (25)
Magnus Meyer Hustveit (25)
Sinn Fein Cllr Lisa Marie Sheehy
Paul Dunne
Michael Lyster and his wife
Bertie Ahern

Last week, 25-year-old a Norwegian Magnus Meyer Hustveit was convicted for the rape and sexual assault of schoolteacher Niamh Ni Dhomhnaill, who had reported to gardai in 2012.

At the end of the trial, Judge Patrick McCarthy, commented that it was an extremely unusual case in that it was only during an exchange of emails between Hustveit and Niamh that his crimes had come to light.

In these emails, Hustveit gave details of raping and sexually assaulting Niamh "less than ten times".

CONFESSIONS

Judge McCarthy said that without these confessions, no criminal charges would have been possible.

In the circumstances, he sentenced Hustveit to seven years imprisonment, and then suspended it in full, allowing him free to walk away from the court.

There has been a public outcry at the leniency of this sentence by the likes of the Rape Crisis Centre, and rightly so.

I am also angry, dismayed and puzzled that this self confessed rapist should get off scot free having violated and raped a fragile and vulnerable young woman as she slept.

Hustveit, who admitted using "her body for my gratification", is still so deluded that he considers his vile actions as a "victimless crime".

Following this, Niamh very courageously waived her right to anonymity to raise awareness of this despicable and desperate crime and to focus public attention on the suspended sentence handed down to her attacker.

She described this as sending out "the wrong message to victims of rape and sexual crime".

Hustveit has been convicted of the rape charge but won't serve one day in jail.

The judge took into consideration that he used no violence in the commission of his awful crimes.

He didn't need to use violence. His victim was medicated when he repeatedly raped her when she slept.

Rape is about consent whether it is about a one night stand or in the marital bed.

He took advantage of a vulnerable woman to satisfy his lust without her consent.

I would have expected that the trial judge should show a degree of clemency to him as there were mitigating circumstances such as lack of violence and his guilty plea.

WRONG

However, to have suspended the entire sentence was wrong and makes a mockery of the justice system.

Rape is one of the most evil, destructive and soul-destroying ordeals that can be inflicted on a fellow human being.

It leaves festering wounds - physical, psychological and emotional - that may never heal.

For many victims, life becomes one long nightmare - a living hell.

I would call on the DPP, in the interests of justice and for all victims of rape, to appeal against the absurd and farcical leniency handed down to Hustveit in this case.

 

Time all those male political dinosaurs out there were made extinct

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There is such an ingrained sexism in Irish political life and I have doubts that the proposed gender balanced initiatives can really change this odious culture.

Women politicians in our Seanad and Dail have to run the gauntlet of jibes, jeers and sexist remarks on a daily basis.

Nowhere was this more visibly illustrated that in the Dail a few months ago when the Independent TD Michael Lowry passed a note to our Taoiseach.

The note was advocating a female candidate of a certain position, with a postscript saying: "She's not bad looking either".

What a crass and insulting comment.

Now one of the country's youngest elected female politicians has spoken out about the sexist remarks made to her since her election.

She is Sinn Fein's Lisa Marie Sheehy, who was elected to Limerick Council last May.

Behaviour

She has spoken out publicly about the behaviour of some of her colleagues, calling their sexist comments to her offensive and inappropriate.

Ms Sheehy was particularly incensed at the remarks of a certain male colleague who said that "women are only in politics to make tea".

Lisa said that she was shocked at such a display of male chauvinistic ignorance. On another occasion, she claimed that another male colleague commented on her clothing in a derogatory fashion.

It is a small wonder then that there are so few women in Irish public life when some of our male politicians have such an obnoxious and primitive attitude towards women.

These male dinosaurs that walk up and down our corridors of power make it more difficult to attract intelligent and dedicated young women in to public life in this country.

 

Open hero Paul has the talent to join the greats

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Paul Dunne, the 22-year-old amateur golfer from Greystones, almost pulled off one of the greatest sporting upsets in living memory.

After 54 holes at the 144th Open Championship at St Andrew's, he led the pack in the club house.

Every sportsman and woman in the country was glued to a TV screen.

You could say, as George Hamilton once said at the 1990 World Cup, "the nation held its breath".

However, the miracle was not to be. Paul could not hold on to his lead and the title was taken by Zach Johnson.

Despite this, Paul (above) is the toast of the whole country and he has an extraordinary future ahead of him.

Isn't it wonderful that we have sportsmen like Dunne and McIlroy who keep the Irish flag flying high.

Talk about punching over our weight.

Well done Paul, the whole country is proud of you.

 

Hero

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RTE Anchor Michael Lyster, who survived a heart attack, has now made a welcome return to the Sunday game studios. It was great to see Michael, an extremely popular and well-loved commentator, back where he belongs. He seemed to be in fine form and back to his old smiling self. We wish Michael a long and happy career.

Zero

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Bertie Ahern, on Sunday with Miriam O'Callaghan, was asked if he would hand back his pension top up of €1,680.  The former Taoiseach said that it is highly complex. This is nothing short of a disgrace. It's an own goal by Bertie who is trying to rehabilitate himself. This attitude will not endear himself to the public or do anything to enhance his reputation one iota.

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