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Kerry student escapes criminal conviction for harassing ex-footballer Ian Wright

Patrick O’Brien admitted sending the former footballer messages that were grossly offensive, obscene and menacing.

Patrick O'Brien (right) covers up as he leaves Tralee District Court.
Patrick O'Brien (right) covers up as he leaves Tralee District Court.
Image: PA

AN IRISH TEENAGER who admitted to harassing footballer Ian Wright has escaped a criminal conviction.

Patrick O’Brien, of Sycamore Court, Ashleigh Downs, Tralee, abused Wright in private messages on Instagram last May after he lost a Fifa game on the PlayStation.

He had pleaded guilty to two charges: harassing Wright on 11 May contrary to the Non-Fatal Offences Against The Person Act 1997, and sending a message by phone that was grossly offensive, obscene and menacing.

At a sentencing hearing at Tralee District Court today, Judge David Waters said “he didn’t see anything to be gained” by imposing a criminal conviction.

He noted O’Brien has shown genuine remorse for his actions and had donated €500 to the Irish Network Against Racism out of his own volition.

He said the language used by O’Brien was reprehensible, but were the unthinking behaviour of a naive, immature, young man.

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He noted that he had written a fulsome apology to Wright, which was accepted by the former footballer, who forgave O’Brien.

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