There was a wee item in the news last week that caught my attention.
An off duty Garda [police officer] was accused in the courts of beating the shite out of a bloke during a late night street brawl. In a nutshell, a bloke made a comment about the Garda’s brother’s shirt looking ‘gay’, so the Garda beat the crap out of the bloke, leaving him unconscious with a broken nose, facial fractures, broken teeth and bleeding to the brain. Nice.
Anyhow the Garda was convicted after pleading guilty to assault and was given an eighteen month gaol sentence last week. He got off damned lightly in my opinion, but that’s not what struck me.
The day following the sentence, the judge announced that he had ‘revised the sentence’ and that the full eighteen months was to be suspended. Apparently members of the Garda and prison staff are ‘entitled’ to reduced sentences as they would have a particularly tough time in gaol.
There are a couple of minor points that concern me about this.
The first is that Gardai are supposed to be the face of law and order in this country. They should lead by example and if caught breaking the law they should receive much tougher sentences than the rest of us lawless citizens. I can’t help but wonder if I were convicted of the same crime, would I receive a mere eighteen months [suspended]?
How come that the judge revised the sentence the following day? There was no official appeal apart from the Garda’s legal representative contacting the judge. The judge claimed he had ‘overlooked’ the fact that the accused was a Garda. Again I wonder how long I would have to wait for an appeal against a sentence? Slightly more than twenty fours hours, I would imagine.
I wonder what the victim made of all this carry on? As he was being kicked to a pulp, he wasn’t given the chance of a reprieve? He didn’t get the kicking suspended? I think a sentence of eighteen months [with no suspension] would be grand. Let the Garda get the shite kicked out of him by his cellmates so he can see what it feels like. But then he wouldn’t have had any cellmates as he would have been given special treatment. He would have been given a cell of his own away from the riff raff, just in case he should be treated badly by the other prisoners.
One law for them and one for us?