Tuesday 25 October 2016

Man jailed for raping 14-year-old girl at a teen disco when he was 15

Declan Brennan and Jennifer Ryan

Published 11/04/2016 | 18:03

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A man has been jailed for three years for the rape of a 14-year-old girl at a teenage disco when he was 15 years old.

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A trial at the Central Criminal Court heard that the Donegal man, now aged 20, pushed the girl into the ladies toilets and raped her in a cubicle.

The pair were seen kissing shortly before their friends had encouraged her to “meet”, or kiss him, during the youth disco.

Lawyers for the man put it to the victim that the couple were “shifting” at the disco and had gone to the toilet for privacy where “they were fondling and it got out of hand”. The woman repeatedly denied this version of events.

After the verdict the man, who cannot be named to protect the victim's anonymity, said he realised he should not have done what he did.

He had pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault of the girl at a nightclub in a Co Donegal town on December 23, 2010.

Last January a jury of seven men and five women returned the unanimous verdicts of guilty on both charges after deliberating for just over two hours. After the verdict Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan ordered the man undergo an assessment by the Probation Services.

Peter Nolan BL, defending, told the court during this assessment the man had said that he was wrong and should not have tried to have sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old.

In sentencing him Ms Justice Heneghan said that she had to consider the gravity of the offence and the lack of any expression of remorse.

She also noted, by way of mitigating factors, that he was a minor at the time of the rape, the delay in the prosecuting the case, his co-operation with investigating gardaí and his lack of previous convictions.

She said the offence merited a sentence of five years imprisonment but that she would suspend the final two years with a view to encouraging the man's rehabilitation.

The judge also ordered him not to contact the victim again and to undergo two years post-release supervision with the Probation Services. The sentence was backdated to January, when he went into custody.

Mr Nolan told the court that before the trial his client had offered to plead guilty to the offence of defilement but the Director of Public Prosecutions had rejected this offer and proceeded with the prosecution for rape.

A victim impact report was provided but not read out in court on account of the victim's wishes.

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