Sunday 24 September 2017

Man gets eight years for sexually abusing girl

Conor Gallagher

A DUBLIN man has been jailed for eight years for sexually abusing a child over seven years in the 1990s.

William Toland (59) was convicted of molesting the girl from when she was aged seven.

The legislation at the time means the maximum sentence for sexual assault is five years. However, because of the amount of offences, Judge Patricia Ryan used her discretion and imposed two consecutive terms of four years, meaning Toland will serve a total sentence of eight years.

Toland, of Balcurris Road, Ballymun, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last June to 58 counts of sexual abuse between November 1993 and November 2000. The jury convicted him on 56 counts and failed to agree verdicts on two counts.

The court ordered the identity of his now 24-year-old victim be protected but allowed the naming of Toland in the media.

Gda Sheila O’Brien told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that he abused the girl in her home, his home and other locations.

The trial heard Toland would go to the girl’s room when he was drunk. She would wake to find him on top of her and he would then molest her in various ways

Mr Quinn told the jury when the girl was cycling with her friends, Toland would regularly ask her to bring cigarette papers to his apartment, then force her to masturbate him.

She became visibly upset as she told the jury how Toland would visit at the weekends and abuse her after drinking heavily.

This took place “regularly”; about once a week in her own home and then possibly once a week again in Toland’s apartment.

She said: “At the start I was so terrified, and scared I got sick. Then as it went on I got numb.”

The woman said she didn’t report the assaults at the time as Toland had told her no-one would believe her. She agreed with Mr Quinn that her life is back on track after some years of alcohol and drug abuse.

Defence counsel Blaise O’Carroll SC said Toland has lost his relationship with his daughters because of his offending. He lives with his partner and her children in north Dublin and has no previous convictions.

Counsel asked Judge Ryan to consider that any punishment will affect not only him but his family and partner.

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