On the same day as 'celebrity chef' Tim Allen was allowed to buy himself off a prison sentence for the possession of child pornography, five Romanian men were jailed after a court found that "it was reasonable to infer that they intended to commit an offence in a shop in Co. Wicklow last November". Allen's sentence of a nine-month prison sentence was reduced to one of 240 hours community service on the payment of EUR40,000 to a child welfare charity - proof, if proof is needed, of the fact that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor.
Meanwhile, as soon as five Romanians entered a shop in Laragh Co Wicklow last November one of the shop assistants - according to her evidence in court - "was aware of them because when they had come in before they had made her very nervous". The shop owner became suspicious "when he saw the five men spread out all over the shop." Despite the fact that nothing had been stolen and that the men gave evidence that they had paid for any items they got and had never been in the shop before, Judge Donnachadh O'Buachalla had heard enough to convict saying that a reasonable inference could be drawn that their intention was to commit an offence. Four of the men were sentenced to four-month terms of imprisonment, and the fifth - because of a previous conviction - was jailed for six months.
And there's more - at Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court in Co. Mayo, Judge Harvey Kenny told a Nigerian woman who was appealing a EUR1,750 fine for driving without insurance that she should be "put in jail to stop all other Nigerians committing similar offences". And just to prove that he approaches all his cases with an open mind, this administrator of 'justice' went on to say "I don't think any Nigerian is obeying the law of the land when it comes to driving. I had a few of them in Galway yesterday and they are all driving around without insurance and the way to stop this is to put you in jail. Word would go out then in the Nigerian community that if you must drive, you must have insurance...You are lucky you are not going to jail."
And these fine judges are employed by a Department with the words "Justice" and "Equality" in its title!! They wouldn't even know the meanings of the words.
This edition is No74 published in Feb 2003