Tuesday 27 September 2016

Man convicted of repeatedly raping his two daughters and sexually abusing son died before appeal

Published 16/06/2016 | 12:22

Dublin Central Criminal Court
Dublin Central Criminal Court

A 79-year-old man jailed for life for repeatedly raping his two young daughters and sexually abusing his son has died before he was due to appeal his life sentence.

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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 was told last October that although the man had come to court for his appeal against conviction, 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.

His appeal against conviction was dismissed on all grounds last May. Giving judgment, Mr Justice John Edwards had said the man's trial was “satisfactory” and his conviction “safe”.

He was due to appeal against the severity of his sentence today. However, Mr McGinn told the court that his client had deceased and that the sentence appeal could no longer be moved.

Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice Edwards and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the court would strike out the appeal.

In a written judgment dismissing that man's appeal against conviction last May, Mr Justice Edwards said he had been 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 acknowledgement 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 for the “fade factor” to operate and there was no evidence to suggest an ongoing risk of adverse 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.

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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