News Courts

Sunday 21 September 2014

Dublin man jailed for 12 years for sexual abuse of his two daughters

Evidence painted “appalling picture of degrading reign of terror” - Justice Paul Carney

Aoife Nic Ardghail and Conor Gallagher

Published 14/07/2014 | 17:33

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Mr Justice Paul Carney said that this case was so “grave and exceptional” that he believes his decision to impose a non-mandatory life sentence will be upheld by the Court of Criminal Appeal
At a special sitting of the non-jury court last year Brian Nick McBennett (54) of Ard Collum Avenue, Artane, was charged with membership of an unlawful organisation styling itself the Irish Republican Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on July 3, 2013.

A Dublin man who surrendered to gardaí 13 years after sexually abusing his two young daughters has been jailed for 12 years.

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The Central Criminal Court heard that the 44 year old made his daughter pretend to be sick so she would stay home from school, allowing him to rape her.

The father, who can’t be named, entered early guilty pleas to sexual assault, rape and anal rape of one daughter from 2000 to 2001 when she was aged between ten and  eleven years old.

He also admitted to sexually assaulting a younger daughter when she was ten years old in 2000.

Imposing a 12 year sentence, Mr Justice Paul Carney said the usual practice is to apply a discount in light of a guilty plea. However he said he was not going do in this case because the plea came 13 years after the allegations were first made which caused great upset to the victims.

The judge said the evidence painted “an appalling picture of a degrading reign of terror in his household”, adding that the facts of the case are “frankly too distressing to repeat.”

Detective Garda Dermot English said that the then 11-year-old complained to her mother in 2001 about her father “touching her in ways he shouldn’t” since the previous summer. 

The detective told Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, that she described how her father would make her tell her mother she had a tummy ache on Sunday night so he could rape her at home next day. The girl said her father would usually rape her twice before her mother got home from work.                  

The girl’s younger sister also made a garda statement in 2001 describing how her father had touched her “privates” once. She said she used to see her father get into bed with the first victim.

When the man was arrested in 2001, he told gardaí his daughters would not lie and that they would never have to go to court.

Det Gda English revealed that that was the last gardaí heard from the man until he handed himself in at a Dublin garda station earlier this year.

His younger daughter completed a Victim Impact Statement on behalf of her sister. The woman described her father as a “violent, controlling person” whose main priority was to get his own way.

She said she knew what was going on between her sister and father, but didn’t understand. She recalled how her father always wanted her sister to stay behind when their mother took them to the shops.

She said she remembered the fear on her sister’s face. The woman added that she felt her father had given himself closure by handing himself in.

The detective agreed with Sean Gillane SC, defending, that his client told gardai he would be pleading guilty. He further agreed that there had been a threat on the man’s safety.

Mr Gillane submitted to Mr Justice Carney that alcohol had been a feature of his client’s upbringing and that he had self medicated his own depression by drinking.

Counsel further submitted that his client has been seeking treatment for his offending behaviour while in custody.

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