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Judge Who Handed Down Crotty Sentence To Retire This Week

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Judge Tom O'Donnell who handed down the suspended 3 year sentence to a serving soldier who beat a woman unconscious during an assault in Limerick, is to retire this week.

Judge O'Donnell will serve his last day on the bench this Wednesday, having served almost 50 years in the legal system, working initially as a solicitor, before going onto work as a judge of both the District and Circuit courts in Limerick.

The judge's recent decision to impose a suspended three year sentence on serving soldier from the Irish Defence Forces Cathal Crotty, has led to a huge public outcry. 

22 year old Crotty from Parkroe Heights, Ardnacrusha, Co Clare pleaded guilty to assaulting Ms O'Brien on Limerick's O'Connell Street in May 2022, causing her harm. Mr Crotty also boasted about the attack afterwards. 

Natasha O'Brien suffered severe physical injuries to her face and body, as well as concussion and panic attacks which have had a profound impact on her life, including leaving her job and living in fear.

Public Outcry

While he did described the attack as vicious, cowardly and unprovoked, Jude O'Donnell made his decision not to impose a custodial sentence on Mr Crotty, after considering his guilty plea, the fact that he had no previous convictions, and the fact that a custodial sentence would probably bring an end to his career in the army.

Following this, Natasha O'Brien blasted the decision, stating that it has denied her justice, and other woman who have suffered similar attacks. 

She also added that this ruling sends out a very dangerous message that it is acceptable to attack women and not get convicted for it in court.

This led to a huge public outcry, with thousands protesting across the streets of Limerick, Cork and Dublin over the weekend in support of Ms O'Brien, calling for an end to gender-based violence and the alleged tolerance of it by the courts as seen with the lack of custodial sentences handed down to first time offenders who plead guilty to the offence.

This decision has also come under fire by political and civic figures, as well as groups calling for an end to violence against women.

Judge Tom O'Donnell had previously confirmed during the course of arranging forthcoming trial dates to the assembled legal community at Limerick Circuit Court that June 26 would be his last day.

He will continue to sit at the court, managing trials and sentencing matters from today until that date.

The Defence Forces have confirmed that Cathal Crotty will face disciplinary proceedings in the army as a result of his suspended sentence conviction. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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