Man caught taking upskirt photos of women on Luas gets suspended sentence; the Pattern of Sentencing here in relation to Sexual Crimes against Women and young Girls is Disturbing.

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June 03 2021 06:11 PM


A man caught by a Luas passenger surreptitiously using his phone to take pictures up a woman’s skirt has been given a nine-month suspended sentence.

Francesco Lampasi (43), of Belarmine Plaza, Stepaside, Dublin 18, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature on the southbound Green Line tram as from the city centre to Bride’s Glen on August 2, 2019.

Garda Karl O’Neill of Dundrum Garda Station told Eoin Lawlor, BL, prosecuting, that a passenger noticed Lampasi holding his mobile phone down by his side as he was alongside a woman on the tram.

The passenger, Martin Smith, said in a statement he saw a colour on the screen which happened to be the same as the woman’s skirt and the colour of skin, and realised something was wrong.

Gda O’Neill said the woman left the tram and has never been traced. Mr Smith accosted Lapasi and demanded to see the gallery app on his phone.

“Mr Smith considered the photos to be untoward,” Gda O’Neill said.

At Dundrum, he insisted Lampasi get off the tram and wait with him for the arrival of gardaí, the court heard.

Lampasi was initially arrested and had his phone seized, and later agreed to be interviewed voluntarily under caution.

“Extra-close-up photos of buttocks and genitals of women” were found when the mobile phone was analysed, Gda O’Neill said.

Lampasi accepted taking such photos was inappropriate, and that by doing so he had “taken advantage of the girl”, Gda O’Neill said.

Other photos of the same nature of “women who are clearly on the Luas” were also found on the device taken on the previous day, he said, though these were not included in the charges.

Barry White SC, defending, said Lampasi was “under no obligation to show photos to Mr Smith, nor wait for gardaí”.

“If he was more aggressive or daunting he could have told him where to go,” he said.

Mr White said Lampasi works for the IT department of a major accountancy firm and is married with one small child.

“This has had a very traumatic effect on his wife,” he said. “He wishes to have this matter put behind him and return to Italy.

“I won’t say, judge, that this is a victimless crime. The victim has the good fortune not to be aware, has no revulsion or disgust of the act.”

He said his client had a sum of €2,000 with him in court available to donate to charity.

Judge Martin Nolan said Lampasi was using his mobile to take photos up the skirts of a particular lady and was noticed by a bystander.

He said the fact the accused waited for gardaí at Dundrum “shows to me Mr Lampasi has a certain level of remorse for his actions”.

He said Lampasi’s family situation and work history were mitigating factors too.

Judge Nolan imposed a nine month sentence of imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on condition of good behaviour. He also ordered the sum of €2,000 be given to the prosecuting garda to be donated to a suitable charity in the Dundrum area.

“If he was to repeat this behaviour, the outcome would be significantly different,” Judge Nolan added.


Judge Martin Nolan disgraces himself, again.

Posted by John McGuirk | May 19, 2021 |

Judge Martin Nolan disgraces himself, again.

It is not really the done thing, in Ireland, to criticise Judges. When, in December of 2019, this writer published a piece arguing that it was time to impeach Judge Martin Nolan, and remove him from the bench, legally minded friends warned that the article had gone too far. Judicial discretion and independence, after all, are vitally important things in a free society. As a rule, Judges should never have to worry about political retribution for their rulings.

None of that is in dispute.

On the other hand, though, the constitution does empower the Oireachtas to impeach, and remove, Judges. This power has never been exercised.

Yesterday, Judge Nolan sentenced a man who had attacked a toddler with a blowtorch to just 20 months in prison. He had the option of sentencing him for up to five years, which is the maximum allowable sentence.

Instead, he gave him less than forty per cent of the maximum sentence.

The details of the case are as horrifying as they sound, as Isabel Hayes reports for the Irish Times:

A man who walked up to two toddlers as they sat in a buggy outside their house and burnt one of their faces with a mini blowtorch has been jailed for 20 months.

The little boys were strapped into a bike buggy in their driveway waiting on their parents, who were preparing to go for a family outing, when the man approached the buggy and burnt the cheek of one child, before quickly leaving the scene….

….Their mother had just gone back into the house to get sun cream for the children when she heard a scream. The parents found the toddler hysterical in his buggy. His soother had fallen out of his mouth and there was a burning smell. They quickly discovered a burn on his right cheek.

Security footage taken from the house showed a man approaching the buggy with a garden trowel in one hand and an implement in the other. He bent quickly over the buggy before walking quickly away.

Being a judge requires several important traits: Knowledge of the law, personal integrity, good temperament, and so on. Most importantly, though, it requires good judgement. Martin Nolan does not have that, as he has repeatedly proved.

He is, after all, the Judge who sentenced a man to six years in prison for the crime of improperly importing garlic. That is a sentence more than three times as severe as the sentence he handed down for attacking a toddler with a blowtorch.

Justice, and public confidence in the Justice system, requires that ordinary citizens feel that the state is on their side. The parents of the three-year-old toddler in this case came out of the house to smell the burning flesh of their own child, after he was attacked by a man who applied a blowtorch to his face. Judge Nolan decided that this crime warranted 20 months of imprisonment.

It is not the first such absurdly lenient sentence he has handed down. A 59 year old man who grabbed a schoolgirl, put her into his van, and then masturbated in front of her received, from Martin Nolan, a suspended sentence. A 28 year old man who distributed – did not just view, but distributed – child pornography got a suspended sentence. Another man who viewed child pornography was told by Judge Nolan that it seemed “unjust” to imprison him.

A man who invaded the home of a woman, got into bed with her, and her two year old child, and sexually assaulted her while her child slept beside her? He got a suspended sentence too. A 29 year old man who told Gardai that he attacked a 17 year old girl because he wanted to “screw” her? You guessed it: Suspended sentence.

Judge Nolan may be a decent, well intentioned man, who genuinely believes that prison is not the right place for many of these offenders. He is entitled to that view. But the rest of us, in society, are entitled to want somebody with different, and better, judgement in his seat.

Because of Judge Nolan, a man who took a blowtorch, with no provocation, to the face of a toddler, will be on our streets again in September of 2022, and perhaps sooner. That is – to draw a phrase from our history – a thundering disgrace.

There is every reason to remove him from the bench. It should be done as a priority. It will not be done, of course. But it should be.

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