A MAN who pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a young boy in Splashworld in 1993 has avoided any significant punishment because the Probation Service deemed him unsuitable for community service. Nicholas Power, of Ballydislane, Tramore, had originally been sentenced to 240 hours community service on March 26, in lieu of 1.5 years in prison but the sentence couldn’t be finalised until a probation report was completed.
In Waterford Circuit Court on May 1, Judge Eugene O’Kelly took his first opportunity to study that report, which declared Mr Power unsuitable for community service due to the adverse media attention that his case has already attracted in the media. The report stated that community service would put Mr Power, and potentially anyone engaging in community service alongside him, in danger.
Judge O’Kelly said that he had to take a number of things into consideration having read the report such as the “health issues of Mr Power’s family members”, and the empathy that he “finally seems to be having for his victims”.
“In light of the fact that community service is no longer a realistic option, I’m left with the option of either suspending this sentence in its entirety or to direct that he serve some period of time in prison,” Judge O’Kelly said. “In view of the fact that he has already completed two terms of imprisonment in expectation that it would be the end of the matter it would be unfair that he be asked to serve another term.”
Judge O’Kelly said that he did have concerns that the Probation Service considered him to be ‘medium’ risk of re-offending. He said that it was important that he continue engaging in a victim empathy programme so that he could “better understand the impact of his historical offending”.
“All things considered, I will accede to the request made by the defence on March 26 to suspend the sentence in full,” Judge O’Kelly said. “I am doing that for a period of three years on the basis that for the first of those two years Mr Power be subject to the supervision of the Probation Service, and take part in any programmes that they suggest.”
Judge O’Kelly added that if there was any re-offending in the next three years, then the suspension of the sentence would be terminated and he would be sent to prison.
See this week’s Waterford News & Star in shops now for further coverage including VICTIM’S STORY: ‘Tramore deserves the truth’