Sunday 15 September 2019

Appeal against 'unduly lenient' suspended sentence imposed on man who raped ex partner while she slept

Magnus Meyer-Hustveit
Magnus Meyer-Hustveit

Ruaidhrí Giblin

THE wholly suspended sentence imposed on a Norwegian man who raped his girlfriend multiple times while she slept was “unduly lenient”, prosecutors have argued in the Court of Appeal..

Magnus Meyer Hustveit (25), formerly of Leo Street, North Circular Road in the capital, had pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault committed against his 28-year-old girlfriend between 2011 and 2012.

He was given a wholly suspended seven year sentence by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy on July 13 2015.

Hustveit, whose former partner Niamh Ni Dhomhnail waived her right to anonymity so that his identity could be published, returned to his native Norway after he was given the suspended sentence.

Counsel for the DPP, Mary Rose Gearty SC, told the Court of Appeal this morning that the suspension of Hustveit's seven year sentence was “unduly lenient”.

Citing a former Chief Justice of Ireland, Ms Gearty said it was not easy to imagine circumstances which would justify a non-custodial sentence for rape.

MscGearty said the victims trauma was increased by suggestions that she lied about her medical conditions. Hustveit had instructed his lawyers to cross examine her in relation to what she said about the symptoms she suffered, Ms Gearty said, when the disclosure of medical information was not forthcoming.

It made matters so much more distressing for her, Ms Gearty said, and lead one to question whether Hustveit was "filled with remorse" and had taken "responsibility for what he had done,” as had been submitted on his behalf.

Ms Gearty said this case was unusual in that it combined a sleeping victim and a relationship. Ms Gearty said the betrayel of trust was “extraordinary”.

Counsel submitted that the judge erred by not aknowledging that this range of behaviour and class of conduct merited a lengthy period of custody.

Coupled with that was the judge's “flawed understanding” of the law, Ms Gearty said. He operated on the basis that that if the conviction comes from of the mouth of the accused, he could take one of the most serious offences on the statute book and eradicate any custodial element.

The Court of Appeal reserved judgment to a date in March.

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