News Courts

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Man who sexually abused family member avoids jail

Conor Gallagher

Published 20/06/2014 | 14:06

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Judge Patrick McCartan
Judge Patrick McCartan

A man who sexually abused a family member has avoided a jail sentence.

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Earlier this month Judge Patrick McCartan asked the victim to consider meeting John Carvin (45) under programme before he passes sentence.

The victim is the stepdaughter of Carvin’s brother.

The man was convicted last April of sexually assaulting the then seven year after coming into her bed late at night. He was acquitted of sexually assaulting her on two other occasions.

At the previous sentence hearing, the judge said he was suggesting the programme because “this is a close family that is badly fractured by what has occurred.

“If there is a prospect that this can be put right then this might well be an option that is worth exploring.”

Today the court heard from Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that the victim does not want to meet with Carvin. She also waived her right to anonymity so he can be publicly named.

Carvin initially refused to accept the jury’s verdict but his counsel said that he has changed his mind.

Judge McCartan said it was understand that the victim does not want to meet Carvin as it would involve her reliving the abuse “in very challenging circumstances.”

He said he had investigated the programme as a possibility “in the hope that some reparation of the family relationship might be achieved.”

The Restorative Justice Programme, which is run by the Probation Service, involves parties meeting in a supervised setting to discuss the effects a crime had on the victim.

Imposing sentence, the judge noted that Carvin forced the now 20-year-old victim to go through a trial process by refusing to admit his guilt. He also observed that he “challenged very strongly” the victim’s version of events, effectively saying she was lying.

However he said that the abuse was at the lower end of the scale and Carvin has belatedly admitted his guilt. He imposed a three year sentence suspended in full for three years.

There were emotional scenes from the victim’s supporters and one of her family members ran out of the courtroom as the non-custodial sentence was handed down.

Carvin of Holywell Crescent, Swords pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three instances of sexual assault on the child in Dublin on dates between October 2000 and February 2001.

In a victim impact report the woman said that she suffered considerable stress and anxiety as the trial approached.

She said she had nightmares about the abuse and the trial, including dreaming that the judge would shout at her and tell her that she was lying.

Sergeant Liam Donoghue told Ms Murphy that the man was sleeping in the room beside the girl on the night of the abuse. During the night he climbed into her bed and began kissing and rubbing her.

He left but returned shortly afterwards and made her masturbate him before telling her “to get on top.” She refused and the man fell asleep. He was later discovered in the bed by another family member who told him to get out.

Defence counsel Caroline Biggs SC said that her client married in 2010 and has the support of his wife. She said he has a good work record and may keep his job depending on whether the judge sends him to prison.

Counsel added that the offence seems to have been a one off and is at the lower end of the scale.

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