By Anthony Sheridan
The decision by judge Patrick Durkan to allow Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan buy her way out of a criminal offence is a disgrace.
First, let’s look at the offences committed by O’Riordan.
Caused a disturbance on an Aer Lingus flight including stepping on the foot of a flight attendant.
Assaulted two members of the airport police at Shannon.
Obstructed a police officer in the execution of his duty.
Escaped from police custody.
Headbutted and spat in the face of a policeman.
Falsely accused police officers of sexual assault.
These are very serious offences and would normally result in a conviction and probably a prison sentence. The judge had three options:
Acquit her on the grounds that she was suffering from a mental illness at the time.
Find her guilty and impose an appropriate sentence.
Let her off completely but make it look respectable under the cloak of the court poor box charade.
By letting her off the judge lessens respect for the law and increases the suspicion that the court poor box is nothing more than a mechanism under which those with influence can avoid the consequences of having a criminal record.
The judge is reported as saying that O’Riordan was treated in exactly the same way as any other member of the public but then went on to completely contradict that claim by saying:
Because she is a public figure, she not only had to deal with any sentence or sanction that the court imposed but also one that the public would impose.
This means, in effect, that public figures are entitled to greater leniency simply because they are public figures.
In my opinion O’Riordan should have been found guilty, fined €6,000 and told to get on with living with the reality of having a criminal record, just like ordinary people have to.
The court poor box perversion should be discontinued before it does any more damage to the standing of the law.