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EXPLAINED | The sentencing pro...
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EXPLAINED | The sentencing process in Ian Wright racism case

Frank Greaney joined OTB AM this morning to explain the case in which a Kerry student was spared a criminal conviction for sending racist abuse to former footballer Ian Wright.

Eighteen-year-old Patrick O'Brien sent 20 messages to Ian Wright on 11 May last year, many of which were racist in nature.

In court this week it was decided the case against him had been proven, but no conviction will be recorded against him.

Communicorp courts correspondent Frank Greaney explained the outcome, and the sentencing process in this country.

"It's essentially a two-step process where the judge would have looked at all the facts of the case, how serious the case was, within the legislation he is confined to.

"Then he would have looked at the offender, and that's how he arrived at his decision. What this young man did... is deplorable, absolutely disgraceful.

"He would have looked at the crime and the other circumstances of the case, he would have looked specifically at the offender, Patrick O'Brien, an 18-year-old man who came before him without any previous convictions, he would have looked at his remorse, he considered his remorse to be genuine.

"He would have also looked at how the victim in this case - Ian Wright - reacted and has been affected by the case. Ian Wright forgave this man, Patrick O'Brien apologised to Ian Wright, the judge considered it to be a genuine apology, and Ian Wright accepted it as genuine and forgave him.

"Ian Wright did outline to the court via his victim impact statement how he's been affected by this, he said he's been affected by racism throughout his entire career.

"He did spare him a criminal conviction by applying the probation act - that doesn't mean he gets off scot-free. Granted he's not going to spend any time behind bars, but Patrick O'Brien will have to engage with probation services, he will have to address the offence he is convicted of and admitted to.

"There is a long road ahead for him, but he will hopefully by the end of it have a better understanding of what he did."

Greaney went on to explain what this case means.

"What is shows is that the state authorities responsible for prosecution in criminal cases do take these things very seriously.

"Patrick O'Brien is not spending any time behind bars for what he did, but if you take a look at what's happening online, if you take a look at the kickback from the public in general, one thing we can take away from this case is that racism is not tolerated.

"It's not acceptable in any shape or form. For Patrick O'Brien to do what he did and think there would be no consequences for it is remarkable. We now know that there are consequences."

Wright himself responded to the court's decision with disappointment in a statement.

"I've seen today's judgement and I'm disappointed," Wright posted on Twitter.

"This case was never about revenge, it was always about consequences for acts of racism. My forgiveness of this young man was for my own deeply personal need and desire to move forward without further anguish.

"I'm a 57 year old man that has has experienced racism throughout my life. I wasn't expecting my forgiveness to be an invitation to lighten a sentence.

"Seeing this judgement, I can only wonder what deterrent there is for anyone else who spouts this kind of vile racist abuse.

"A individual wished death upon me because of my skin colour. No judge's claims of 'naivety' or 'immaturity' will ever be acceptable to us.

"The supposed immaturity and naivety of our attackers is never any comfort.

"So yeah, I am disappointed. I'm tired. We're all tired."

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