A father who assaulted a former paramilitary man who raped and sexually abused his young daughters escaped a custodial sentence at the sitting of the Donegal Circuit Court on Thursday last.
The 37-year-old, who cannot be named to protect his daughters’ identification by court order, admitted swinging a golf club at the convicted paedophile through his car window and then, when it broke, sticking the shaft into his side.
Judge John O’Hagan also ruled the 53-year-old paedophile who was victim of the attack could not named as he had former links with the defendant’s nine-year-old and 11-year-old daughters whom he abused.
The girl’s father admitted assault causing harm to the paedophile at a beach in the south of the county on Sept 17, 2009.
Donegal Circuit Court heard the paedophile was recently sentenced to 15 years at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin when he pleaded guilty to 16 counts of oral rape and sex assault against the two girls between November 2008 and May 2009.
Donegal court heard how the girls’ father, when he heard the convicted pervert was out on bail while the sex assaults were being investigated, traced him to the beach side location.
Det Sgt Michael Carroll told the court that he had informed the defendant that the paedophile had been released without charge pending investigation by the DPP and that he was extremely upset.
In evidence he said that the paedophile was hit on the right hand side of the head with a golf club which broke in half and during a scuffle the girls’ father stuck the shaft of the club into the other man’s right hand side. When he withdrew it there was blood all over the place.
The court was also told that when the investigating Garda examined the scene, the defendant cooperated fully, remained on the scene and was distraught over what had happened his daughters. He gave a full account of the assault to the Garda.
Counsel for the defence Mr. Peter Nolan BL told the court his client recognised that he did wrong in law but that it was a reaction that was understandable - “He just lost it”
Mr Nolan said: “ He felt that he had failed as a father to protect the children he loves so dearly from this evil paedophile. He is left with two children who are damaged for life and he himself has been severely damaged as a result .
“The victims here today are the children and the defendant. His life has been ruined as a result of this terrible chain of events,
“I will have to say that in all my time in this profession that this has been one of the most disturbing cases that I have dealt with.
Mr. Nolan added: “I can not say he has remorse. I am not going to pretend he has so that is not a mitigating factor. He has no remorse of any injury. He feels that it is a father’s job to protect his children.”
Judge O’Hagan acknowledged that when the surface was scratched it was apparent the father “lost it” and was “overpowered by emotion” when he discovered his two lovely daughters were abused.
The Judge said, “Every case is different and what happened on this beach was a direct result of what the defendant had discovered what his daughters had been subjected to.
“He took the law into his own hands, he had a weapon and tracked down the victim and attacked him. You are not allowed to do this.
“He was lucky the golf club which he used as a weapon did not stab the paedophile in a life-threatening manner.
“I understand that this man was in an emotionally fuelled state but reports indicate that he is not a risk to society and his suitable for community service.
“I am not here to take revenge but I will punish the defendant,
“I am imposing a sentence of 18 months imprisonment on the defendant but substituting this with 150 hours of community service.
The Judge concluded “I don’t think anybody in this court who is a parent will fail to understand - there is no need for me to state the obvious.”