Cheung – one Lying and Cowardly Bastard, Gets off Scott Free, Why?

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Dad who abandoned his two kids to move to Singapore for woman he met online avoids jail

Judge Comerford said that Mr Cheung was cowardly for lying, saying that he was going to Dublin instead of Singapore

Cho Cheung at Ennis Court.
Cho Cheung at Ennis Court.
Cho Cheung at Ennis Court.
Cho Cheung at Ennis Court.

9th November 2022

A judge has described a father who abandoned his two school-going children to travel to Singapore to a woman he met online as ‘callous’ and ‘cowardly’.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Francis Comerford said that Cho ‘Simon’ Cheung (51) abandoning his children in October 2016 was “a calculated criminal act”.

Mr Cheung abandoned his daughter, Ciara then aged 11 and his 15 year old son nine years after the children’s mother had left the family home in Shannon to go back to Hong Kong.

Judge Comerford said Mr Cheung’s offence “is an egregious example of callousness and cowardice on behalf of the accused”.

Judge Comerford said that Mr Cheung was cowardly for lying, saying that he was going to Dublin instead of Singapore and callous because he knew that the children’s mother hadn’t been in their lives since daughter, Ciara was two.

Judge Comerford said: “Mr Cheung knows his children are about to lose the presence of granny who has been there for years. He picks that time to head off without explanation. It was a calculated act of abandonment and calculated to cause harm.”

Judge Comerford said that Mr Cheung deserved to go to jail for 22 months but said that he would suspend the prison term in full.

Mr Cheung has two children with his new wife and Judge Comerford said that he wasn’t sure if it is right to impose the same harm that was brought on the victims in this case to impose that on two more children.

Judge Comerford said that to send first time offender, Mr Cheung to prison now would do more harm than good in terms of the impact it would have on Mr Cheung’s two younger children and the interests of society would not be best served by an immediate custodial sentence.

Cho Cheung at Ennis Court.
Cho Cheung at Ennis Court.

Judge Comerford also fined Mr Cheung €1,000 which he acknowledged was “a tiny amount” in comparison to the harm Mr Cheung did but the judge said that he had to take into account Mr Cheung’s financial circumstances.

Judge Comerford said that his heart went out to the two children in the case.

Mr Cheung formerly of Lios Rua, Ballycasey, Shannon but now living in Longford had pleaded guilty to two counts of wilfully abandoning his two children in a manner to cause un-necessary suffering under Section 246 of the Children’s Act.

The family lived at Lios Rua, Ballycasey in Shannon and Ciara is now aged 17 and is going to college.

In her victim impact statement, Ciara told the court her heart shattered in October 2016 when she learned that her father lied when he said he was going to Dublin when he instead “left the country for a woman you only met months ago”.

She said: “I am 17 now and you have been gone for six years. Living without two parents has been beyond difficult.”

Ciara said that after her father left, “I would come into school with red eyes crying so much”.

She said that her two biological parents leaving the family home made her feel worthless.

She said: “If it wasn’t bad that one parent left, two gone made my life fall apart into millions of pieces that I was thought was impossible to fix.”

Ciara said that slowly her mental health has gotten better.

Addressing her father, Ciara said: “I blamed myself for six years for your doing. I was never worthless. It was never my fault. It was your fault for thinking only of yourself and nobody else – not even your family that I thought you cared about”.

Det Sgt Kevin O’Hagan of Shannon Garda Station said that Cho Cheung worked as a chef at different Chinese restaurants around Ireland after arriving here in 1994.

Det O’Hagan said that after Mr Cheung’s now former wife and the children’s mother left the home in 2007 to return to Hong Kong, Mr Cheung’s mother arrived in Ireland to help raise the children.

Det O’Hagan said that by Autumn 2016, Mr Cheung’s mother had decided to return home to Hong Kong as she was in her mid-70s and returned in November 2016 shortly after Mr Cheung had gone to Singapore.

Ciara and her brother were brought into family foster care of Mr Cheung’s sister who also lives in Shannon.

The woman Mr Cheung met online had come to Ireland earlier in 2016 to further the relationship with him but there had been conflict between her and Mr Cheung’s mother in the home in Shannon and she returned to Singapore.

Mr Cheung left for Singapore in October 2016 as his new partner was having their first child.

Det O’Hagan said: “Mr Cheung did have responsibility for the child in Singapore. That is accepted, but I don’t think you can flick a coin Judge.”

Counsel for Mr Cheung, Rebecca Treacy BL said that she is instructed to apologise to his two children.

She said: “He is extremely ashamed and embarrassed by his actions and hopes that someday it might be possible to mend the relationship he had with his family. He accepts full responsibility for his actions.”

Ms Treacy added that there is absolutely no excuse for shirking responsibility in relation to his children.

Ms Treacy said that it was not a case that Mr Cheung left in the middle of the night and left children unsupervised.

She said that he was under the mistaken belief that there were structures in place.

Det O’Hagan said that Mr Cheung was arrested at Dublin airport after he returned to Ireland in November 2020 for work when he was subsequently charged and remanded on bail.

Judge Comerford lifted all previous reporting restrictions in the case and counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL said that Ciara Cheung was fine with being named.

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