Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Appeal fails

Priest's appeal against sentence for abuse nearly 30 years ago fails

An elderly priest has failed in his appeal against his three-year sentence for sexually abusing an altar boy in his Wicklow parish nearly 30 years ago. The Court of Criminal Appeal found yesterday that the approach taken by Judge Michael O’Shea in sentencing Fr Thomas Naughton (79) was “impeccable” and that he had committed no error in principle in reaching his conclusions.

Mr Justice Liam McKechnie, sitting with Mr Justice Declan Budd and Mr Justice Daniel O’Keeffe, said Naughton had been in a position of trust and authority but had abused both and had inflicted a 30-year “sentence of vulnerability” on his victim.

Orla Crowe, defending, said the sentencing judge did not give due regard to Naughton’s efforts at rehabilitation, his considerable health difficulties and the remorse he had shown.

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