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24th Jun 2024

Judge who handed down Cathal Crotty sentence is retiring this week

Kat O'Connor

Judge O’Donnell gave Cathal Crotty a fully suspended sentence

Judge Tom O’Donnell will reportedly retire this week after being hit with waves of backlash over the Cathal Crotty sentencing.

He confirmed he was retiring some weeks ago, but the decision is reportedly not linked to the outrage over the Natasha O’Brien case.

It is understood that his final day will be Wednesday, June 26th. O’Donnell has worked in the legal system for over 50 years.

There has been major public uproar since Crotty was handed down a fully suspended sentence for attacking O’Brien in 2022.

O’Donnell gave Crotty a three-year suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to attacking Natasha O’Brien.

Protests were held across the country over the weekend in solidarity with Natasha.

“Many, many, young people in Ireland carry on like this”

Following the sentencing, O’Brien said she did not get justice.

She told BBC Radio Ulster: “I was really, really, hoping that I would have been able to set a good example, that when you do something bad you get consequences for it.”

O’Brien was left unconscious, with a broken nose, bruising, and severe mental distress. She also lost her job following the attack and continues to suffer mentally because of it.

She added: “Instead our system has shown that it is broken.

“This is not just this man, this is many, many, many, young people in Ireland that carry on like this, and there was really no justice.”

She said the decision to give Crotty a suspended sentence is “failing victims”.

O’Donnell acknowledged that the attack was “vicious” and “appalling” but chose to spare Crotty because of his guilty admission, reputation, and future career.

The Irish Defence Forces has also begun internal proceedings following Crotty’s sentencing last week.


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