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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Una Hardester should be jailed

This is Una Hardester. She works as a human rights activist. But for most of her short life, she didn't give a crap about the human rights of a life she did her best to destroy.

She has admitted that she wrongly accused her neighbour Michael Feichin Hannon of sexually assaulting her when she was ten years old, even though she had never met the man.

As a result, he has spent over a decade living in the shadow of public approbrium, with the world assuming he was a child-abusing scumbag.

In reality, Una made up the allegations to assist her father who was having an ongoing spat with his neighbours, the Hannons.

Her father is a successful American bit-part actor who left Ireland in 2000 with his family after scoring a payday in 'Saving Private Ryan'. Michael Feichin Hannon, on the other hand received a criminal sentence for his troubles and is, in his own words, 'a shadow' of the person he used to be.

Una Hardester finally admitted to her lies in 2006, claiming that her father had prevented her from doing so earlier. She has not explained how her father was able to do so. Michael Feichin Hannon had his case declared a miscarriage of justice and is now expected to gain up to one million euro in compensation from the state.

I want to know why we, the Irish taxpayers, are shelling out for Una Hardester's lies. I want to know why she is not, as she expects, facing jail for perjury and for her false accusations.

Her father is an affluent man and by all accounts appears to have been a major influence both in this case coming about and in delaying its resolution. Why isn't he shelling out the compo to Michael Feichin Hannon?

We've had this with the banks already. Why is the Irish taxpayer underwriting the mistakes of private entities and individuals?

And why is it apparently okay to accuse an innocent man of child sex abuse?

Una Hardester has spent recent years as a human rights activist. It's such a terrible pity that she didn't give more thought to the human rights of Michael Feichin Hannon, which she herself so egregiously destroyed.

She should be jailed.


Random Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC Skinner said...

Not nice, Joe. Not nice.
In any case, I'd imagine the last thing Feichin Hannon wants is to ever see the lying cow again in his life.

Sweary said...

Did you miss the whole thing about her being ten years old at the time, Skinner?

You can argue that since she turned eighteen she had a moral and legal obligation to come forward with the truth, but at ten? A ten-year-old cannot be held accountable for lies she was coerced into telling on her family's behalf. Whoever coached her should be jailed, though. Or hung, drawn and quartered, whatever will cost the tax-payer less.

JC Skinner said...

I don't think we're actually in disagreement here, Sweary.
The girl may or may not have been coached - she says she wasn't.
The issue of compensation for Feichin Hannon should be based on who is responsible for the miscarriage of justice.
And that is primarily Una Hardester. She may have initiated the miscarriage as a minor, but she permitted it to continue past the age of maturity.
And in any case, kids are still held responsible when they do wrong in the eyes of the law. Think back to Jamie Bolger.
She committed perjury and conspired to pervert the course of justice. She's admitted it and feels remorse. She should be let do her time. She might even benefit from it, and she'd be unlikely to serve more than a couple of months.
I also think that there is reasonable grounds for her to be questioned by Gardai in relation to the original allegations to establish whether she might have been coached.

Sweary said...

I would feel very uncomfortable as a member of a society who dished up revenge that cold, Skinner. She was ten, and it's extremely doubtful that she came anywhere near understanding the consequences. At the very most, she might be asked to explain or be punished for withholding the truth as an adult, but holding her accountable as a child is not right, even though the circumstances are particularly heinous.

Over-abundance of italics, there. Forgive.

Whether or not kids can be held responsible in the eyes of the law, Jamie Bolger case and all (and the lads there didn't do their time in an adult institution, as would be the case with Una Hardester), I still don't think it's right. This seems to be a case of "the sins of the father" being visited upon the child. I can't agree with that.

The State/tax-payer will pay the compensation to Michael Feichin Hannon. Well, yeah. It's the tax-payer/State that convicted him.

Una Hardester's father should surely be judged on his part in this; whether or not he'll be punished financially is another matter. Coaching a small child to say such things IN COURT about someone else in order to ruin his life is horrendous, and is, absolutely, child abuse in its own right.

JC Skinner said...

IF, indeed, he did coach her. Which hasn't been established and has been denied by Ms Hardester, even though she is apparently estranged from him.
She has said she expects to be interviewed by Gardai in relation to the matter and is happy to comply. She also said that she expects she could face prosecution.
I don't see a single good reason why her expectations should not be fulfilled.
Certainly, she must be taken up on her offer to submit to interview. Then the culpability or otherwise of her father can be assessed.

Sweary said...

I read that the allegations she made at the time were quite... hmm, detailed, evocative and focused. Now obviously I shouldn't take as gospel all I read about such sensational cases as this. But still, if she wasn't coached, how the hell did she know what to say in order to ensure an innocent man's conviction for such an awful crime? She was ten!

Doesn't add up.

JC Skinner said...

I don't think that's an unfair perception to take away from her original evidence at all.
Which is all the more reason why she should be taken up on her offer to be interviewed by An Garda Siochana.

Anonymous said...

Statement by Una's mother

Katherine Hardester said...


P said...

Random Joe, JC Skinner and others:

First, Random Joe is disgusting for even making the joke. I'm sure even he is conflicted over being so ignorant, punishment enough...

I am the last of the males on one side of this family and my entire life has been spent around these women and their siblings.
This blogger has every right to be upset over the 'ideas' that he is expressing, but should note them as such; ideas. Facts are one thing, and third-party information is another.
I will let his readers intelligent enough to scan comments hear what I have to say and hopefully this scathing attack on my first-cousin will be re-considered by those who feel it necessary to find demons in all corners of their life.

This man, Una's father, my Aunt's ex-husband possesses nothing short of a psychopathic personality. His tendencies have ranged from physically violent to verbally abusive. He is a person who finds it easy to lie in meaningless conversation and has no regrets for doing so in times where the truth is imperative. The amount recognizable bullshit he puts forth, to me at even 6 years of age was noticeable.
Divorce proceedings between my aunt and this man were disgustingly ugly due to his lack of care for the well being of all of his children, not just Una. He played the children against each other at young ages and poisoned them daily with lies about their mother, their grandmother, and the rest of the family. He was lazy, ignorant, and terribly condescending to his own children.
I cannot continue because so many things about this man's darkside are limited to the interactions I witnessed and to what my family was put through.
I can imagine though that people who were forced to work with this man, or grew up with him have stories to tell of their own. Picture if you will, the type of child who crushes small animals in the woods with rocks.

Take my word for what you want, but I have become someone who does not say things he doesn't mean.
I have lived in and traveled to many different places, and been involved with many different types of people in many different situations.
Believe me when I say that in my entire life I have never come into contact with a bigger asshole than my cousin's father. Not one.
He is the only person I have ever had to be restrained from tracking down after learning of threats made against family members.

I will not say more in my cousin's defense. She was a child when this occurred and my experience with her is subjective. She's become someone I admire and there is no doubt in my own mind, whatsoever, that she is telling the truth and wants nothing more than to make things right. Her career and life choices are proof to me that she's overcome the very real and haunting upbringing she had under her father. If you saw the transformation of family dynamic that I saw after the separation, there would be no doubt in your mind either that the family had come into the light from a very dark tunnel.

Please read my Aunt's open letter to the media and public.

Phil Kaiser
Colorado, USA

JC Skinner said...

I'd like to thank the members of the Hardester family for their contributions.
I think they shed valuable light on the background to this very sorry case.

P said...

Please understand that my insight on the case and my political views all coincide with having this man pay the compensation to Mr. Hannon, not the tax-payers of our ancestral homeland. I remain hopeful that his manipulative personality will be showcased in the hearings and that Mr. Hannon's life is repaired in full.

Phil Kaiser

JC Skinner said...

Not at all, Gnash. She's still a lying cow and she still ought to be jailed. She did a very wrong thing to an innocent man, and rightly acknowledges now that she was utterly wrong to have done that.
Look, she expects to be questioned by Gardai and jailed for wasting police time.
I concur with her expectations in that regard.
What the Hardester family contributions reveal is that Crofton Hardester should be arrested and questioned as to whether he had an involvement in the allegations against Michael Feichin Hannon.
If it transpired that Crofton Hardester was the driving force behind those allegations, then that might indeed change things somewhat.
But currently Una Hardester has said otherwise, and taken all responsibility for the allegations upon herself.
Therefore, she should follow through by paying the penalty for the wrong she did.

Colm said...

Fair enough about thinking she should be jailed, and thinking she's a liar, (your opinion) but I'd leave out the word "cow". Takes the sting out of it, looks uncouth.

I think that Feichin Hannon's wishes should preside over *all* of our wishes.

If he says "please prosecute her" then prosecute her.

If he doesn't, then no. Leave her alone.

He is the victim here. His is the voice we must be listening to.

In ref. to possible compensation for Mr. Hannon, I'm not one to whinge and whine about where my taxes go. I pay them. tough sh*t me. move on.

JC Skinner said...

It's not my opinion that she's a liar - she's admitted it.
It's not my opinion she should be jailed - that's one of the available sentences for perjury and wasting police time that is applicable for the severity of the wrong she has done.
I think, especially in a major economic crisis, it is responsible for the state to ensure that it only pays out taxpayers' money where it is warranted and incumbent on the state to do so.
Let the Gardai question the Hardesters to establish what really DID happen, and once culpability is established then the issue of compensation can be settled.
With due respect to Mr Hannon, the law does not operate based on the sentiments of victims.

Anonymous said...

I believe we should have a public enquiry into this case it is a very serious case.

Surely the gardai should have taken into account the bad blood between the two families.

The medical staff who examined her should be held accountable for their mistakes and lack of observation.

I truly believe doctors, nurses and psychologist lead children into saying things with their line of questioning.

We should also look at ourselves when we hear of an accusation of child abuse/ rape we tend to believe the acusser.

As for this young woman been only ten, she did make the accusation with help from someone.
She must have been a very manipulative youngster.

From what i have read it is been suggested it was her father who may have instigated the accusation, but can someone tell me where was her mother all this time, did she believe her, when did her daughter tell her the truth.

There are so many questions to this it is imperative we have an enquiry.

Valkyrie said...

I truly believe this is a case of children paying for the sins of their fathers on both sides. I'm not condoning what happened, but I think you make the mistake of wanting to prosecute a 22 year old for the crimes of a 10 year old. If you can prove she would have committed the same action as an adult-- only then can you prosecute her.

I notice that nobody has taken into account reasons Ms. Hardester may not have been able to clear up the matter sooner... issues such as personal health, financial status, even her safety given that her father is clearly unhinged.

Reading statements from Una Hardester's mother have convinced me that some blame also lies with the officials investigating the matter. Those very people investigating may have unintentionally coached her as well. This casts enough doubt in my mind about the whole procedure to necessitate a new investigation into the matter.

A grave miscarriage of justice has been done here, but we need to make sure we are do not commit another in a quest for retribution.

And Random Joe, stop being a misogynist pig. It doesn't do anything to boost your character.

Anonymous said...

F*#k the hardesters, they are all a lying bunch of pricks. they should all be tossed in prison and left to rot, as for the statement that Katherine hardester made to the press defending her daughter, I had to place a bucket on my lap while I was reading it. That woman cant lie straight in bed, she is so full of it, (SHIT) No one cares about her personal suffering, she had the choice to stay or go. she chose to stay in an abusive relationship for as long as she did, NOBODY LIKES A PERSON WHO CRIES VICTIM. She is a grown woman who should have control over her own life. So take your pathetic statement and shove it up your #*@.

Laine said...

Sorry to be so late to this party. I am only now finding our about it. I am finding it a bit amusing how STRONG and absolute the opinions being expressed here are for people who know NOTHING about Una or her family or the details of this whole deal. I have known Una for may years here in the USA through high school and college and I have known her mother even longer. I also know Crofton but not as well.

Una is one of the most selfless caring people I know and I am absolutely sure that if you asked anyone who actually knows her and especially anyone who has every worked with her on humanitarian issues you would find they say the same.

When we are talking victims here remember, she was the first victim in this whole mess. At the age of 9 something physical and traumatic happened to her that is and has been totally unaccounted for, for which she has no clear memory. She was found after this incident not by family members as part of some fabricated plot to do in the neighbors but by a concerned neighbor.

The investigation was, by today's standards botched. The physical evidence sealed in a plastic bag and entrusted to the police was lost. The police were unable to arrange a physical examination of Una until days later. The investigator who interviewed her, when Una told them she did not have clear memories offered her possible things that might have happened until she agreed to something and ended the interrogation. As for being coached it is my understanding that the prosecutors showed her the statement before she testified and reminded her of the story. (All of this to a 9-10 year old frightened girl.)

It was shortly after the trial that her mother was able to sneak them out to the relative safety of her family in the US. Once they were here they tried to correct the story and provide the context for the trial and testimony and Irish law would not accept a foreign deposition. They did not have the means at the time to return nor did it seem safe to do so.

Later when Una tried to go to Ireland as a minor her father legally blocked her from doing so. After she was in college and was legally an adult she did an extended internship in Bosnia working with returning war refugees and other war victims. As soon as she could after arriving in Europe she did go, on her on, at her own expense to willfully do what she could to right the wrong she had been living with for 10 years. She DID NOT have to do this at all.

Back in the US she has been working to normalize and integrate slaves into the US culture. (People smuggled into the US as slaves and discovered during legal actions against their owners/bosses.)

Una is one of the most intelligent, principled people I know on the planet. She was writing a regular newspaper article analyzing international events. While in High School she was taking political science courses at Yale University and scoring top in her classes. She has participated in the model UN and has addressed the UN before entering college.

She has risen above the cycle of violence that surrounded her as a child in Ireland to be a champion for people suffering from all manner of injustices. It is her intention to continue that work in the world.

While Mr. Skinner, by his on introduction is angry and pissed off at just about everything there is, these sorts of ignorant, opinionated rants in a public forum are not very helpful. Una is a part of the solution to the injustices in the world not the source of them. She never set out to do in the neighbors and her family (not even her father) set her up to do so.

She was a victim, at 9, of some physical, traumatic event, entered the juvenile criminal justice system (bureaucracy), was suitably ground up in it until the system could spit her out and stamp "case closed" and move on to their next piece of work.

It is time to hear from some of the people who actually know her, people who have experienced her and to look at some of the things she has done and accomplished on her own without the "help" of the police, angry neighbors, and psycho drama of an abusive home life.

JC Skinner said...

I appreciate your contribution, Laine.
But actually, it is time for Una Hardester to make a statement to the Gardai to clarify what actually happened.
Character testimonies are all well and good. No doubt she is a splendid person today, and certainly deserves respect for (eventually) doing the right thing.
But a man was accused of abusing a child sexually and had his life ruined as a result.
There needs to be an accounting for that. And that's why I suggest that the Gardai should take her up on her offer to be questioned fully on the matter.

JC Skinner said...

I think I've adequately explained why I believe she should be jailed, given the severity of the crime she admits to committing.
But if what I've written is in some way confusing for you, Gnash, I will refer you to Kevin Myers whose excellent analysis of the case was published in today's Irish Independent:

JC Skinner said...

All of Gnash's posts have been deleted because I temporarily forgot that he's a howling anti-Irish bigot and sexist scumbag who trolls for attention.

Evian Hardester said...

My sister did the best she possibly could in a terrible situation. She returned to Ireland as soon as she was legally capable and could afford to go. Why should she be vilified for something that happened when she was a child- a traumatized child who was pushed down a well in the fog by... someone? I am disgusted that such levels of self-righteous indignation can be based upon a fragmented and sensationalist version of the facts.

Pain and confusion have been a constant part of my siblings' lives. We were caught up in a war not just between two families, but within our own. Under such circumstances, Una should be commended for how much she has accomplished during her adult life.

Mr. Myers' article is poorly written, hopelessly naïve, and fails to make a coherent argument. He refers to Una a "malicious 10-year-old." Oh, yes, because the statements and actions of a frightened child are both logical and sinister. He groups Una with adult women who make false allegations of rape. He does not seem to notice that every news article is sympathetic to Mr. Hannon, as well they should be! A great wrong was done to him, and he deserves compensation. He was, however, failed by the Irish justice system, not a child.

-Evian Hardester

JC Skinner said...

Evian, I thank you for your contribution, and you and your siblings have my sympathy for your difficult upbringing.
I am happy to accept, not knowing her myself, that your sister is an upstanding adult and I do respect her for eventually coming forward with the truth in this matter.
However, on a fundamental level, no matter what the culpabilities of the legal system in this case (and they are many and they ought to be the subject of an inquiry) it was not the legal system that first made allegations against Mr Hannon.
There have been obscure hints from members of your family of Crofton Hardester's involvement in this case and of a vague incident.
Those issues need to be clarified, not here or indeed in any other forum of discussion, but in a legal context.
I do hope that the Gardai will question your sister, pursue an investigation into ALL the culpable elements, and then there will be proper, final closure for everyone in this case.

iBailey said...

It's laughable that Una Hardester's family are writing so much in defense of her - and very little written by them regarding Mr. Hannon.
They want to explain away the whole thing - she was only 10, vague statements regarding her supposedly abusive father.
This man's life has been in tatters for ten years. It will be harder for legitimate cases to get respect now also - who's to say others weren't 'coached' by professionals as well?
She wants to take responsibilty, "but" - there is no excuse for destroying Mr. Hannon's life, and to post the extenuating circumstances of Una's childhood cheapens his ordeal.

Anonymous said...

Figh No Fight it still takes a degree of maliciousness to come up with the story she did and Michael Hannon is the victim here not someone who has had the chance to do a correspondence course from Yale and to take part in a model UN>

Colm said...

Dear Evian,

I'd like to reply to your statement

"Mr. Myers' article is poorly written, hopelessly naïve, and fails to make a coherent argument. "

and comment that there are many in Ireland who beleive that this statement can be said about most things he has ever written about.

Random JOe said...

I'd like to apologise to Mr. Skinner for the comment I made earlier.

It wasn't my intention to degrade this conversation in anyway.(It hadn't turned into a converstaion yet)

P, I am in no way conflicted by my ignorance. I'm enjoying it thoroughly.

Eoin said...

To ibailey. Your statement that it is "laughable that Una Hardester's family are writing so much in defense of her - and very little written by them regarding Mr. Hannon" is itself laughable. Besides this whole discussion being bogus, as it is based on the ridiculous suggestion that a ten-year-old should be jailed for perjury, your intelligence seems a tad lacking. As this article is titled "Una Hardester should be jailed" I do not think it at all laughable that her family should focus on that assertion.
As for Skinner. I don't want to comment on the appalling inconsistencies in his article as I would probably blush at my own outbursts. Anyway, the stupid coward wouldn't publish it - isn't that right Skinner?

JC Skinner said...

How many times can one man be wrong, Eoin?
You seem to have set a very high benchmark.

Eoin said...

I see you still haven't posted that comment or the one I sent you yesterday my dull witted and lily livered foe.

JC Skinner said...

Stupid, wrong and also apparently blind.
Look above, Eoin.

Anonymous said...

I have a 10 year old. He is a child,but NOT a SMALL child. Ms Hardester reminds us that she was a SMALL child back then!!I feel the motive behind this is opportunistic. Does anyone feel a book coming on? - Movie maybe,appearance on Oprah etc.! My feeling is that these people are completely self serving...oh and whats with the fun/posed photos everytime they succeed in publishing an article about this.

MoonDragon said...

The girl was very young, the mother under duress, the father an abuser.... I know because I knew them....
Crofton Hardester was known in Ireland from his appearances on Fair City... I'm not saying any of it was right, but I truly admire Feichin's perception after all the humiliation and injustice he has had to endure.
But what was happening can be attributed to the acts of a single egotistic, self-indulgent individual who couldn't keep his hands to himself, and couldn't deal affably with the "inconvenience" of having cattle trod over his land along pastures they had been used to walking. Sure the problem could've been resolved.
Also, Catherine Cane hung around there too long, to the detriment of the mental health of her 2 kids. I worked with that woman and witnessed her gradual deterioration at the hands of that obsessive hotheaded fool.