Sunday 26 October 2014

Father to be sentenced for sexual exploitation of daughter

Fiona Ferguson

Published 23/07/2014 | 16:52

The SD memory card was handed into the gardai and the child was taken into care.

A father will be sentenced next week for the sexual exploitation of his daughter which came to light after a member of the public discovered a video clip on a mobile phone memory card.

The video clip, which was filmed by the child’s mother, shows the four year old child’s hand and head in or around her father’s penis and smacking her father’s bare bottom.

The mother’s voice can be heard saying “smile for the camera” as well as the little girl laughing and giggling. The father, who is in bed, is heard saying “ouch” and “let go.”

The SD memory card was handed into the gardai and the child was taken into care.

The 28-year-old accused man, who can not be named to protect the identity of the child, had pleaded not guilty to knowingly producing child pornography; encouraging, knowingly causing or facilitating the production of child pornography; sexual exploitation of a child and child cruelty on a date between January 2009 and June 2010.

Following almost three hours deliberation after a three day trial in May the jury acquitted the man of producing child pornography and convicted him on the other three counts.

During the trial the jury viewed the video clip which lasts one minute and 47 seconds.

The child’s mother was sentenced to three years with 20 months suspended in 2012 after she pleaded guilty to sexual assault and sexual exploitation of the child.

The parents had split up at the time of the offences but the accused sometimes stayed over with the child and her mother.

Judge Sarah Berkeley remanded the accused man in custody today following his sentence hearing until next week when she will finalise the case.

Patrick Gageby SC, defending, asked the court to take into account that the accused man was possibly hung-over when the offences occurred and initially was either asleep or sleepy.

He submitted that the offending had been initiated and recorded by the mother “for reasons which are unclear” and encouraged by her “for reasons which pass all human understanding.”

He said that it was apparent on the video that at least twice the accused had attempted to ask the mother to get the child to “desist.”

Mr Gageby said his client had been extremely co-operative with gardai and submitted that this was “one of those unusual cases” where it was appropriate not to impose the full rigour of the law.

Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, said he had no instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions about where the case lies on the range of offending and also said it was an unusual case.

Detective Garda Brian Jennings told Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, that the accused man made a voluntary statement to gardai in which he described an incident where his daughter had come into his room when he was in bed and naked from the waist down.

The child had pulled the covers from him and her mother videoed their daughter grabbing his penis. He said he screamed at the mother to get the child out, that he did not enjoy it and knew it was wrong. He said he gave out to both of them afterwards.

The father was later interviewed by gardai and viewed the video clip for the first time.

He confirmed it was himself and his daughter in the video and that it was being filmed by his former partner.

He said he had been in bed “half asleep” and the mother had told the child to “squeeze daddy’s hose.” He said he had told his former partner to stop the child grabbing his penis.

He said it had been “totally wrong” and accepted he was not totally without blame.

The court heard the child is doing well and has supervised access with her father and mother and also access by their families.

A victim impact report was prepared by a social worker. She said that due to the child’s young age the overall impact of the offences were hard to assess. She outlined that academic research showed short and long term effects on psychological functioning in sex abuse cases.

She said that colleagues had worked with the little girl to help her understand that she was taken into care because her mother and father had “broken the touching rule.”

She said that the child seemed to be in denial about her fathers bad or wrong actions. The child has a number of issues including trusting that she is loved.

Det Gda Jennings agreed with Patrick Gageby SC, defending, that the mothers voice, which is rather “slurred”, can be heard saying “smile for the camera.”

He agreed that the man answered every question put to him and the accused made the point that he had been surprised by this event. He agreed the man was polite and co-operative.

Read More

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News