A judge has said a mother-of-two who identified on her Facebook page one of the boys convicted of murdering Ana Kriégel showed “utter contempt” for the law.
In June 2019, Hazel Fitzpatrick (25) posted a screenshot of a photo that identified Boy A on the day after both juveniles were convicted of murdering Ms Kriégel in May 2018.
Fitzpatrick, who has no other criminal convictions, told gardaí she thought it was “wrong they are protected when [Ana Kriégel] was not protected”.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard there was no premeditation, that Fitzpatrick acted out of “pure anger” and that at the time she had become “almost reliant and addicted to social media”. She later described her actions as “the biggest mistake she has ever made in her life”.
Fitzpatrick of Easton Green, Easton Road, Leixlip, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty to contravention of the Children Act 2001 within the State on or about June 19th, 2019.
Sergeant David O'Neil told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that on the day after two juveniles referred to in media reports as Boy A and Boy B were convicted of the murder of Ms Kriégel in June 2019, a picture identifying Boy A was published on the Facebook account of the accused.
The court heard this post contained a picture of the boy, as well as the words: “Name and shame the c**ts” and that justice was served but, they should not be allowed to see daylight again.
The post also called the two convicted juveniles “sickos” and said everyone should see who “did it”.
Sgt O'Neil said the presiding judge of the murder trial had made an order that nothing could be published that would identify or tend to identify the two convicted juveniles. He said the trial, and this order, was extensively reported by media outlets.
Sentencing her on Thursday, Judge Karen O'Connor said there has to a deterrent element in respect of people who use social media “in utter and blatant breach” of a court order.
She said Fitzpatrick knew about the court order and knew that what she was doing was wrong. However, she made a decision that she did not agree with the court order.
“Such utter contempt for the law must have consequences,” the judge said. She added she could not accept a defence submission to defer sentence under Section 100 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006.
She set a headline sentence of 12 months imprisonment but reduced this to eight months which she suspended on condition Fitzpatrick keep the peace for that period. The judge noted Fitzpatrick is deemed to be at a low risk of reoffending and is a person of previous good character.
Judge O'Connor also noted Fitzpatrick was fully co-operative with the Garda investigation and pleaded guilty at a very early stage. She said that at the time of the offending Fitzpatrick was suffering from anxiety and depression.