Irish magician calls for tougher sentences after grandfather attacked18/09/2009 - 15:42:46
A television magician hit out at the justice system today after his 82-year-old grandfather was beaten unconscious in a violent robbery at the family home.
Keith Barry called for mandatory three-year prison sentences for criminals who break in to pensioners’ homes.
His elderly relative, Paddy Barry, was left unconscious in a vicious attack at his Waterford home and it is feared he may have suffered brain damage.
The magician said other pensioners living in the quiet part of the city were petrified.
“I think anybody who enters a pensioner’s home uninvited, that’s anybody over 65, it should be a mandatory sentence, without bail, without excuses,” he said.
“These thugs have no fear. They have no fear for the law. They have no fear for the justice system and they have no fear of us in our homes.”
Barry said his grandfather has been unresponsive since the attack, suffering bleeding on the brain and showing no signs of improvement.
He said tougher laws had to be introduced to strike fear back into the minds of criminals.
The Department of Justice said the Law Reform Commission is drafting a bill on complex legislation to tackle rules around break-ins and what a householder can do to protect themselves.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern is planning to table reforms before Christmas.
“The idea that a judge in Ireland, trying a case involving someone over 65 who has been battered in their home, would not throw the rule book at someone convicted of such an horrific offence, the idea that a judge would let someone walk away, I find it incredulous,” a spokesman for the minister said.
“Let’s be clear, the minister has taken a very tough stance on a whole range of crimes and if required he will not be found wanting.”
The Government rejected a Fine Gael bill yesterday which would have protected householders who attack burglars in their home.
“These guys (criminals) are just laughing in the face of the law,” Barry said.
His grandfather was attacked in his home in the Mount Sion Avenue area of Waterford where he has lived for 60 years.
The robbers broke in through the front door between 8pm and 10pm on Wednesday night.
Gardaí have appealed for anyone who was in the area or the Ballybricken part of the city at the time and saw anything suspicious to come forward.
“He is fighting for his life,” Barry said.
“He’s elderly but he’s quite a healthy elderly man. He had a good 10 to 15 years’ healthy living left in him.”
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