December 13, 2014

Central-Criminal-Court-DublinA DONEGAL man who terrorised an ex-girlfriend in her home during a night of terror has had his prison sentence cut from five years to two years.

Kevin Ginty (47), formerly of St Columba’s Terrace, Letterkenny had pleaded guilty to burglary at the home of a woman he had been in a two year relationship with on April 4 2010.

He was sentenced to five years imprisonment by Mr Justice Paul Carney at the Central Criminal Court on July 22 last year.

During that hearing the victim said that a part of her did not survive that night, and everything in her life now revolves around the fact that she was attacked.

She said she has since moved house and has installed personal alarms, telling the court that this incident has prevented her from moving on with her life. “To me I am no longer living”, she said, “I survive”.

In finding that the offence could be met by a sentence of two years imprisonment, Mr Justice George Birmingham said insufficient regard was paid to Ginty’s lack of previous convictions.

Mr Justice Birmingham said Ginty had been in a romantic relationship with the injured party for some two-and-a-half years. The evening before the offence took place, Ginty had called to the lady’s home and had been told quite firmly by her that the relationship was very definitely over.

The following evening she returned home from a “girls night out” in a taxi at 2:30am, Mr Justice Birmingham said. Very soon after entering her home she noticed a shadow passing the sitting room window. The shadow had been made by Ginty, Mr Justice Birmingham said.

He said Ginty had knocked on the door and when he couldn’t gain entry into the house he climbed into her home through the sitting room window.

As the woman was making her way to a neighbour’s house her phone rang and during that call her phone went dead because Ginty had come up behind her, put his arm around her and proceeded to drag her back into the house, the judge said.

The judge said he banged her head against the bottom step as he dragged her up the stairs. Her phone rang again and on this occasion, Ginty answered the phone, putting on a woman’s voice to say she wasn’t there and had gone to a disco.

Eventually this very unpleasant incident came to an end, the judge said and when Ginty departed the woman rang the gardaí once more.

Mr Justice Birmingham said Ginty was a chiropractor and not only had he no previous convictions but he was very well thought of in his locality and native county.

The incident had had a significant impact on the injured party, the judge said. She moved home and such was her loss of personal security she carries a personal security alarm around with her on all occasions.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the case took an “unusual route” to the Central Criminal Court because another charge ultimately did not proceed.

It was asserted without statistical evidence, Mr Justice Birmingham said, that if the case was dealt with in Donegal it might have been disposed of “non-custodially”.

The Court of Appeal took the view that it was a serious offence involving violation of the dwelling. It involved an act of violence directed against a female in her own home.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said any suggestion that violence in a domestic or quasi-domestic context was less serious “should be squashed here and now”.

The court took the view that Ginty’s sentence was out of line with sentences typically imposed in cases of this nature. Ultimately this was dealt with as a burglary in the course of which an assault was committed by somebody appearing before the courts for the first time.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the offence could have been met with a sentence of two years imprisonment and “that is the sentence that will now be imposed”. It was backdated to the date of his conviction, July 15 2013.