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DPP seeking increase to sentence in case of man raping wife

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The DPP wants the Supreme Court to increase an eight-and-a-half year sentence imposed on a man who raped his wife.

The Central Criminal Court (CCC) had imposed an effective 10-year sentence for the May 2014 rape and the DPP appealed to the Supreme Court when that was reduced to eight-and-a-half years by the Court of Appeal (COA).

The DPP argued the COA erred in apparently regarding the rape as an offence "in isolation" rather than part of a pattern of violent and abusive behaviour.

The Supreme Court heard submissions on the sentence yesterday following its earlier judgment in the case which addressed sentencing in rape cases, particularly of marital rape involving a pattern of violent and abusive behaviour.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke, presiding over the five-judge court, said it will rule on sentence on a later date.

In its earlier December judgment, delivered by Mr Justice Peter Charleton, the Supreme Court set out principles for sentencing in rape cases and the sentencing bands for such cases. It said rape ordinarily merits a substantial "headline" sentence of about seven years before mitigation is considered and a custodial sentence "is all but inescapable".

A category of cases merit a headline sentence of 10-15 years, before considering mitigation and suspension issues and violence in the home, breach of trust, domination and a background of abuse are "aggravating circumstances".

Knife

On May 25, 2014, during a row in the kitchen, the man produced a knife, threatened his wife he would cut open her face, ordered her upstairs and raped her. He told her if she rang gardaĆ­, they would not arrive in time to save her.

On August 6, 2014, her mother let him into her parents home where he produced a hammer from a bag, struck the woman several times on the head and also hit her mother on the head. He fled after neighbours intervened and was later arrested.

The woman suffered three deep cuts and she and her mother were taken to hospital. The man was convicted of charges related to the hammer attack, rape and three threats to kill and concurrent sentences were imposed.

Originally, a 14-year "headline" sentence was imposed for the rape, reduced by two years suspension and two years for mitigation.

Irish Independent