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Tuesday 17 October 2017

'Lenient' sex-attack sentence deplored

Allison Bray and Sonya McLean

CAMPAIGNERS for rape victims have deplored the lenient sentence handed down to a man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his neighbour – with her eight-year-old son beside her – after a party.

The 42-year-old father of four from Dublin, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, was given a two-year suspended sentence at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting his neighbour at her home in a Dublin suburb on July 15, 2012.

The victim woke up to find the man sexually assaulting her when her son, who was sleeping beside her, woke and and told him "to get off my Mammy" and tried to push him away.

The court heard the man had consumed both alcohol and cocaine during the party; had no idea how he ended up in the woman's bed; and thought the woman was his partner.

Judge Martin Nolan said he did not find the accused's explanation "very believable, to put it bluntly". However, the man's genuine remorse and lack of convictions for similar offences justified a non-custodial sentence.

DRINKING

Fiona Neary of the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland, said while she deplored the lenient sentence, binge drinking was a common factor in sexual assaults.

"The situation where a woman wakes up in bed to find someone sexually assaulting her isn't unusual," she said.

She said the case underscored the need for Ireland to update its law on sexual consent like they have done in the UK where consent is not deemed to be given if a person is intoxicated.

Irish Independent

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