Saturday, March 15, 2014

UK/Ireland: Raped US Tourist, 29, Discovers That Seeking Justice Abroad Can Occasionally Take Years

According to The Irish Times, Edward Gerard Connors, 20, who twice-raped a US tourist, 29, and after a year as an escaped fugitive, has finally been extradited to Dublin.

Originally, Connors, then 15 years of age, raped the American in Colin Glen Forest in west Belfast in 2008. Afterwards he fled to Dublin but later gave himself up and was sentenced to eight years with two years’ probation. 

COMMENT: As an example of the flawed criminal justice system in both the UK and Ireland, Connors was released from custody in 2012 after serving only four years. 

Yet, an arrest warrant was issued by a court in Northern Ireland as a result of a breach of the terms of his probation. 

In July 2012, Connors was arrested at Labre Park in west Dublin. 

A week later he appeared before Cloverhill District Court charged with failing to notify the authorities of his name, address and date of birth in violation of the Sex Offenders act 2001. 

Despite his violation of the Sex Offenders Act, he was very strangely granted bail, despite his being a flight risk and over the objection by police.

Hence, it was no surprise that Connors failed to  appear in court on August 29, 2012.

At the time his rape victim said the decision of the Court to set him free, despite the terms of his probation and fleeing Northern Ireland in the first place, made a "mockery out of any rape victim who seeks justice.” 

The rape victim added: "as a human being, I prefer to believe in the good of most humanity, but this is challenged when a 15-year-old boy rapes you in the park, is convicted of the crime, and then manages to escape from the law enforcement system, an appointed district court judge grants your convicted rapist bail, thereby enabling him to run and still be at large a year later." 

Connors was arrested again in November 2013 and a month later was sentenced to four months at Cloverhill District Court. The Dublin High Court yesterday heard evidence that Connors was subsequently arrested on January 23 last on foot of a European arrest Warrant endorsed on November 22, 2013. 

Mr. Justice John Edwards ordered the surrender of Connors to the UK authorities. He remanded Connors to Cloverhill Prison pending his extradition.

The ineptness and lack of reasonableness, at least in the Connors case, underlines the fact that when foreigners travel abroad, swift justice in foreign courts can be very, very elusive.

Indeed, life is very much like a box of chocolates: You just never know what you’re going to get when seeking justice abroad.

Despite the occasional human failures described above,  I urge all travelers to go abroad, as the friendships, enrichment, experiences, photographic images and memories will indeed last a lifetime.