Victim feels ‘let down’ by the justice system

This woman taxi driver says she was 'let down' by the justice system.
This woman taxi driver says she was 'let down' by the justice system.

A taxi driver assaulted by a man described in court as a ‘violent thug’ has said she feels ‘very let down’ by the justice system.

The woman, who does not wish to be named, was not informed about the sentence imposed on the man who assaulted her and feels ‘completely forgotten’ in the judicial process.

She was assaulted by Cathal Patrick Feeney in the early hours of December 28, last year. Last week he was jailed for 24 weeks at a hearing in Derry Magistrates Court.

The victim only found out about the sentence through media reports because her details were not provided to the Public Prosecution Service or Victim Support NI as the victim of a crime.

She told the ‘Journal’ the lack of communication has left her ‘feeling victimised all over again’.

“I still have not been officially informed that this man was sentenced. In my opinion he has had more support from the judicial system than I have.”

The PSNI have confirmed they were responsible for the woman’s details not being passed to the relevant bodies, who could offer her support and updates about the criminal case.

In a statement to the ‘Journal’, Superintendant John Magill said: “Victim updates regarding court proceedings are usually provided by the Public Prosecution Service Victim and Witness Care Unit after contact information is supplied to them by PSNI.

Unfortunately on this occasion victim contact information was not supplied to the PPS by police. This was an oversight and we apologise for any distress this may have caused.”

The 58-year-old taxi driver has said that victims should be offered continuing support through a criminal case.

While this does normally happen, an ‘oversight’ on the part of the PSNI meant that Victim Support and the PPS did not have this woman’s contact details to offer her support.

She said there now needs to be improved communication between all the agencies, to ensure victims of crime are ‘looked after’.

The woman, who has worked as a taxi driver in the city for more than a decade, is now scared to work at night.

She was assaulted by Cathal Patrick Feeney in the early hours of December 28, last year, after picking him up from Altnagelvin Hospital.

Feeney has 63 previous convictions and a number of them are for assaulting women.

“The case is now done and dusted and I am left behind. I have worked as a taxi driver for ten years and I have never experienced anything like this before. It is not the first time he has assaulted someone and it certainly won’t be his last. If it wasn’t for the police officer on duty at Waterside Police Station that night, he definitely would have killed me’.

“It has now put me off working at night and I am afraid of coming into contact with this man again.”

Victim Support NI have confirmed they will be in touch with the woman to offer her support.

A spokesperson said that the oversight has obviously been ‘distressing’ for the victim and ‘led to a situation where key support services were not offered at the appropriate time’.