Friday 13 December 2019

Convicted rapist who impersonated garda and told schoolgirl 'he could arrest her' jailed

Gardai in Balbriggan are investigating
Gardai in Balbriggan are investigating

Declan Brennan

A convicted rapist who told a school girl that he was a garda and threatened to arrest her has been jailed for six months.

Cork man Paul Buckley (45) was jailed for four years in 2005 after a trial at the Central Criminal Court heard he had battered and raped a woman who was making her way home after a night out drinking.

Detective Garda Phillip Byrne told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that on November 11, 2017, Buckley, a registered sex offender, was living in the capital.

Buckley was drinking in Dublin city centre during the day when he saw a teenage girl in her school uniform standing with a friend. After challenging the girl about not being at school he showed her a business card with a garda logo on it and told her he was a garda.

The girl told him she had skipped school that day because she didn't want to do a PE test. Buckley told her she shouldn't be embarrassed by the test because she was a “gorgeous girl”.

He asked her to go for a coffee with him and when she said no, he told her she couldn't leave. He told her he could arrest her and bring her to the station for not being in school.

He began rubbing her hand and told her she was sexy, Det Gda Byrne told the court. The girl later told investigators that she felt very uncomfortable and frightened. Buckley again told the girl he could arrest her and she replied that she would have to call her mother before going to the station. She went to leave and Buckley did not prevent her this time.

Buckley, of Nelson Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty to impersonation of a garda at Aston Quay, Dublin on November 11, 2017.

Sentencing him today, Judge Martin Nolan said he must give Buckley the “benefit of the doubt” about his motive for approaching the girl.

“I can't infer beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant in this case intended to cause harm to the young lady,” the judge said. “I can't infer he intended, for instance, to sexually assault her.”

The judge noted impersonating a garda was a serious offence and he handed down a six-month sentence.

Lorcan Staines BL, prosecuting, told the court that Buckley revealed to the Probation Service himself that the offence was sexually motivated.

“He will receive some sort of sexual gratification from engaging in conversation of this type,” a Probation Service report states.

Fiona Murphy BL, defending, said her client's motive was to seek “some form of human interaction”. She said he knew nobody in Dublin and was depressed and lonely.

Buckley was identified from CCTV cameras and arrested. He told gardai that he struggled with alcohol abuse and shouldn't have been drinking during the day.

Asked what would have happened if the girl had agreed to go with him, Buckley told gardaí: “It wouldn’t have escalated into a sexual offence or sexual predator. I’m aware of the danger there”.

Buckley, formerly of Baker’s Rd, Gurranabraher, Cork was convicted of rape and assault causing harm in Oct 2005. He was released in the autumn of 2009, about seven months before he carried out a serious late night attack on a woman in Cork city.

Gardai in that case told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the attack was sexually motivated.

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