Woman had ‘momentary lapse of judgement’ when she posted
A woman who was “probably overcome” with emotion when she decided to identify the boys convicted of murdering Ana Kriégel has received a fully suspended sentence.
Louise Heaney (49) posted a photograph featuring the two boys on social media, but removed it shortly thereafter. There was no suggestion she took or generated the photo herself, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.
The court heard that the murder trial had brought back the memory of the murder of the son of a friend of hers and she posted the picture in “a momentary lapse of judgement”.
Heaney of Killinarden Heights, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to publishing photos of Boy A and Boy B on Facebook in contravention of the Children’s Act 2001 on June 18, 2021. She has no previous convictions.
Passing sentence, Judge Martin Nolan said that on the particular date, Heaney was “probably overcome” with emotion, but that that was no great excuse.
The judge said it is quite a serious crime in the sense the court had ordered there should be no publication of any material that would identify these children. He said this was made clear by judges in court and their comments were broadcast and published greatly.
He said he took into account the offending was at the lower end of the scale and very few people were likely to see the photograph.
Judge Nolan sentenced Heaney to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions.
Sergeant Eamon O’Neill told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that two males known as Boy A and Boy B were convicted of the murder of Ana Kriégel in June 2019. Orders were made that nothing that tended to identify either boy could be published.
Sgt O’Neill said it came to the attention of gardai that an image depicting a group of children had been published on social media.
The faces of three of the children were covered “crudely” by red markers, while the faces of two boys were circled with the letters “A” and “B” beside them.
Gardai contacted Heaney regarding the image and she invited them to attend at her home.
When they attended, she admitted to posting the photograph.
Heaney told gardai she had kept herself informed on the court outcome via social media. She said she had a family friend whose son had been murdered, so she had an interest in any injustice to children.
She admitted she knew of the order and that the children were not to be named. She said she had sent the image via Facebook Messenger to around 10 people.
When asked why she shared it, Heaney said it was emotionally driven, that there was no malice intended and that she would not do it again. She said she had got the image from the comments section of another post on the trial and removed it herself soon after she put it up.
Heaney told gardai she regretted posting it and was very sorry.
Sgt O’Neill agreed with Emmet Nolan BL, defending, that it was reasonable to suggest that while his client knew what she did should not be done, she did not fully appreciate the consequences of what could happen to her.
The garda agreed with counsel that there was no suggestion his client had taken or generated this photo.
Mr Nolan said his client was from a community where the son of a friend of hers was murdered. He said the trial brought all of that back and in “a momentary lapse of judgement” she posted this picture.
Counsel said this was something done in an instant and taken down very quickly. He said his client has never been in trouble before.
He said his client has six children and has also been involved in fostering numerous children. He said his client has volunteered with the Rape Crisis Centre.