Ombudsman Policy


[Editor's note: Emily O'Reilly has distinguished herself as Ombudsman since her appointment in 2003. Ms. O'Reilly is a former journalist and author. We consider the Office of the Ombudsman to be one of Ireland's bright lights. We can't go into detail at the time of this writing, but has found the Office of the Ombudsman very helpful and accessible. You can find Ms. O'Reilly's full remarks at  “Health Policy - An Ombudsman Perspective”. ]


Artist's rendition of Donald Noseworthy in court. From Google Images
The case of Donald Noseworthy, from Ontario, Canada interests us because of what we see as many obvious parallels in Dolores' death, and the groundbreaking path that prosecutors took in presenting the case. Mr. Noseworthy was convicted of manslaughter in the death of his mother. He was found to have hastened his mother's death by the beatings he inflicted on her, and from his neglect of her care.

Donald Noseworthy, 59, admitted to detectives that sometimes he "lost control a little bit" with his 78 year old, 6 1/2 stone, 5-foot, 3-inch mother, Mary Noseworthy. He admitted delaying calling emergency services because of his fear of being held responsible. When he finally did call, he mentioned to the dispatcher, “I smacked her a couple of times, you know.” He further explained his failure to call emergency services by saying, “I was just hoping that maybe she – her face would get better…”

Although the cause of Mary's death was, like Dolores', deemed by the pathologist to be congestive heart failure, her son Donald Noseworthy was found to have hastened her death, and was held responsible.

Mr Noseworthy was sentenced to 7 years in prison for manslaughter, reduced to about 3 years for time already served. Mary's neighbour, John Douglas, wasn't happy with what he thought was a light sentence. “They should've hanged him for what he did to his mom. His mother gives birth to him and he killed her!”

We at also think the sentence very light. We send our thanks to prosecutors Rosemarie Juginovic and Patrick Woods for these new tools to advance justice in the case of Elder Abuse.


News accounts:

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day UN Declaration of Human Rights European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity Towards a Society for All Ages