Tuesday 25 October 2016

Father (78) who repeatedly raped two daughters and son loses appeal

Ruaidhrí Giblin

Published 12/05/2016 | 16:53

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

A 78-year-old father jailed for life for repeatedly raping his two young daughters and sexually abusing his son has had an appeal against conviction dismissed on all grounds.

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The Dublin man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was convicted in August 2010 of 87 counts of sexually assaulting and raping his two daughters when they were aged between five and 11 and sexually assaulting his son when he was aged between three and six at various locations from 1997 to 2002. He had denied the charges.

He was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury following a seven week trial and was sentenced to life imprisonment by Mr Justice George Birmingham on October 4 2010 for the rape of his daughters. He was given further determinate sentences for other offences.

The Court of Appeal heard in October that although the man had come to court for his appeal, he was too ill to sit through the hearing which was advanced by his legal team of Dominic McGinn SC and Miceál O'Connor BL.

Dismissing his appeal on all grounds today/yesterday(THURSDAY), Mr Justice John Edwards said the man's trial was “satisfactory” and his conviction “safe”.

Mr Justice Edwards said the man was afforded an extension of legal aid to cover three barristers rather than the usual two and his larger legal team could have assessed material received from the HSE in the 17 days before his trial.

In support of this, Mr Justice Edwards said, there was express acknowledgment from his senior counsel at trial that “we've gone through all of those (materials), my Lord”. In addition, he did in fact make use of certain video recordings at trial, the judge said.

In relation to alleged adverse media coverage, Mr Justice Edwards said more than a year had been afforded since an earlier trial to allow the “fade factor” to operate and there was no evidence to suggest an ongoing risk of dverse publicity.

The trial judge had been informed of the man's unsuccessful application for an adjournment two days previously and he had emphasised to the jury the need to avoid and disregard outside influences, Mr Justice Edwards said.

In relation to Mr McGinn's complaints regarding corroboration matters, Mr Justice Edwards said the trial judge was correct in the manner in which he instructed the jury and there was no misdirection.

Mr Justice Edwards said the three-judge court had not seen fit to uphold any of his grounds of appeal. His trial was “satisfactory” and his conviction “safe”.

Mr Justice Edwards, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, dismissed the appeal.

The man's barrister, Miceál O'Connor told the court that his client was “quite unwell”.

He had not been in a position to attend court for the judgment. His appeal against sentence was fixed for June 16 next.

Initially arraigned on 113 counts, the jury had acquitted him on two, failed to agree on seven and were ordered to return verdicts of not guilty by the trial judge on 17 further counts.

His trial took place between July 5 and August 21 2010.

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