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05th Jul 2024

Natasha O’Brien says we shouldn’t be celebrating the DPP’s sentencing appeal

Kat O'Connor

Natasha O’Brien spoke exclusively to this week.

Natasha O’Brien has been making impactful changes by bravely speaking out about her attack and the disappointing sentencing, but the activist is reminding the public that the DPP’s sentencing appeal isn’t something to be celebrated.

In an exclusive interview with Her’s Jody Coffey, Natasha O’Brien stressed that we shouldn’t be happy about the appeal because Crotty never should’ve walked away with such a lenient sentence.

She shared, “It’s the bare minimum guys. It’s the bare minimum. Why should we be happy that the right thing is being done? We should be unhappy that the right thing has not been done in the first place.”

“We should be looking at the people that can change this”

Natasha has helped so many people realise that celebrating the sentencing appeal won’t get us far at all because it shouldn’t be a reality.

She stressed that changes need to happen so no person goes through this again and that starts in the courts.

“We should be looking at the people that can change this so that this doesn’t happen again like the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence.”

Natasha said she isn’t going to give up or let anyone stop her from talking and fighting for change because what happened to her should never happen again. We can’t turn back time but we can use incidents like this to collectively call for change.

“I have always been asking them ‘What are you going to do so this doesn’t happen again to another victim’.

“You need to change this entire system and you need to change the attitude of judges, as well as the training of judges,” Natasha said.

More importantly, she called for character references to stop being considered during cases like this because it is allowing way too many people to walk free after committing such horrifying things.

“If you’re not prepared to handle this situation with care then give the job to someone else who will”

“The acceptability with character references like you get head coaches in GAA and GAA teams standing up and giving a glowing character reference for some violent abuser.

“They are walking away without convictions and suspended sentences and it is everywhere. It’s not just the Defense Forces. It’s everywhere.”

Why should the ‘lovely little star’ get away with abusing someone just because of a character reference? Why should his future be prioritised over his victim?

Natasha stressed that this lands on the shoulders of the judges in our courts. They’re the ones who need to make this change because they’re the ones with the power.

We can protest and use our voices, but they’re the ones who are putting victims of abuse second. They’re the ones issuing suspended sentences for unthinkable crimes.

Natasha added, “They might be experts in law, but they don’t have any expertise in sensitivity and humanity. They don’t have an understanding or regard for the victim of a crime. If you’re not prepared to handle this situation with care then give the job to someone else who will.”