‘I did not seek revenge, I sought justice, and where is this justice?’

By Maurice Garvey

THE father of a young girl killed by a driver declined offers to have his daughter’s killer “taken care of”, in order to seek “justice” in court.

Leo Lieghio’s daughter Marsia (16) was killed crossing Fonthill Road in 2005, and he feels the justice system has failed his child.

Eoin OBroin and Leo Leghio 02032017

Marsia, a fifth-year student at Colaiste Bride, was hit at an estimated 80kph by Ciara McAlinden, from Dundalk, who had travelled to Clondalkin to get drugs.

McAlinden had been convicted a year previously of drink driving and unlicenced driving, and spent 10 months behind bars for the offence.

“Despite all this I still did not seek revenge, I sought justice and where is this justice?” said Mr Lieghio, a Citywest resident.

He says lenient sentences are a “slap in the face” for victim’s families, and has campaigned tirelessly to seek the introduction of new laws to review sentencing for repeat impaired drivers.

Earlier this week, Mr Lieghio was outside the Dáil with the Irish Road Victims Association (IRVA), holding a vigil displaying 188 photographs of people killed by reckless drivers.

Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin called on Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald to give victims’ families a voice in the reform of sentencing for offenders.

Speaking during questions on promised legislation in the Dáil, Deputy Ó Broin cited the vigil, which included a picture of Marsia.
“The driver in this case had previous convictions for drunk and unlicensed driving, but only served 10 months,” said Deputy O’Broin.

“One of the key asks of the IRVA is for relatives and victims of road crashes to have a louder voice in judicial proceedings. In the Programme for a Partnership Government, there is a commitment to bring forward legislation to reform sentencing for offenders. One of the key recommendations of the Law Reform Commission is for a sentencing council to be established to provide guidance to judges as to the appropriate sentence for offences.

“I urge government to urgently implement these proposals and bring forward legislation to provide greater clarity in sentencing and provide victims’ families with greater input in the judicial process.”

Minister Fitzgerald said the Commission suggested judges should be in a position to decide on a minimum term.

“It would be, at the end of the day, a decision for judges, as opposed to a minimum mandatory outlined by government and I support that position,” said Minister Fitzgerald.

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