Here’s another one I wasn’t going to write about. Is there no end to it?
We’re either talking about Wayne O’Donoghue, the murdering, child-abuser, according to the mother of the dead little boy or Wayne O’Donoghue, the victim, according to an alternative view.
Where are we going with this?
Last week, Paul Carney, the trial judge, criticised Majella Holohan for presenting a series of facts to a jury during the course of a victim impact statement. Majella Holohan is the mother of Robert, a young boy killed by Wayne O’Donoghue. She mentioned, among other things, that there was evidence of semen on the boy’s body.
Well, there you have it. What more evidence do you need? What happened seems plain enough in the face of such stark facts, doesn’t it?
Well, no, actually.
Let me give you another example of stark facts that seem to point in a particular direction.
In this very city, not too long ago, a homeless English man climbed into a commercial rubbish bin and fell asleep. In consequence, the refuse company came along in the morning and killed him.
Now, those are the facts, but they don’t tell you the story. Those facts are a lie, even though they are correct.
What really happened was that the refuse workers hooked up the bin to the truck without knowing the man was inside, and he was crushed to death in the truck’s mechanism.
In Wayne O’Donoghue’s case, he was one of the few people who could get through to Robert Holohan, a very difficult child with ADHD. He gave Robert a lot of his spare time and Robert’s parents were grateful for his help. Wayne had a life of his own. He was a bright student, many years older than the boy. He had an academic career and a grown-up life separate from Robert. He had a new car, his pride and joy, like many twenty-year-olds.
One day, Robert Holohan asked his friend Wayne to drive him into town. Wayne refused. Robert, who was unused to being refused anything, began to throw stones at Wayne’s new car. Wayne got out, grabbed Robert, struggled with him and things got out of hand. In the unequal struggle, Robert was injured and died.
That was when Wayne lost it.
He carried Robert into the bathroom of his house, attempted to revive him and then wrapped his body in a mat. He put the body in his car, drove to a remote location and hid it. Disgracefully, he took part in the search for the missing Robert and allowed everyone to continue hoping the child was still alive for another week.
Eventually, Wayne was charged with the boy’s killing and was convicted of manslaughter.
Those are the facts.
At the trial, Robert’s mother was afforded the opportunity to give a victim impact statement, and she painted a picture in which Wayne O’Donoghue was a vile paedophile killer. A picture in which traces of semen were found on the child’s body.
Why was semen found on the child’s body? Simple: three adolescent boys shared the bathroom, and anyone with a fragment of sense knows that where there are adolescent boys there is always semen.
In her desire for vengeance, Majella Holohan chose to overlook this fact.
In my opinion, no crime at all took place.
Wayne O’Donoghue was one of the few friends that this very difficult child had in his entire difficult life. By offering his time to support Robert’s harassed mother, Wayne O’Donoghue ended up in jail for a crime he never committed. He simply tried to restrain a hyperactive, violent child and ended up somehow overusing his superior strength, with the result that the child lost his life.
In my opinion there was no intent to commit any sort of crime, and therefore Wayne O’Donoghue should never have spent a second behind bars, never mind becoming a nationwide hate-figure simply because he was denounced by a mother blinded by grief.
That’s the problem with bald facts. They almost never tell the truth.