Saturday 21 July 2018

Dublin man who sexually abused four sisters in their home has prison sentence cut on appeal

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Ruaidhrí Giblin

A Dublin man who sexually abused four sisters in their home has had his prison sentence cut on appeal.

The 50-year-old-man, who cannot be named to protect the victims' identities, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to six counts of sexual assault against the four girls on dates between 2002 and 2004.

The man, who has a previous conviction for rape, was the then partner of the girls' mother and was living with them in the family home when the sexual assaults occurred.

The eldest victim was aged between 12 and 13-years'-old when she was abused and each of her three younger sisters were assaulted on one occasion each, with the youngest being seven-years'-old.

Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy imposed consecutive sentences totalling 12 years and ordered four years post release supervision.

However, the man successfully appealed his sentence today through his barrister, Michael Bowman SC, and he was accordingly re-sentenced to nine years and six months imprisonment again with four years post release supervision.

Giving judgment in the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice John Hedigan said there seemed to have been double counting of the aggravating factors when the judge took the same “egregious factors” into account for counts related to the eldest sister and counts related to the younger three.

Mr Justice Hedigan said the single counts in respect of the girl's three sisters were very different in nature. The eldest sister was subjected to a “terrifying regime of assault in her own home over a prolonged period” whereas the other assaults were one off events.

He said the counts involved would not normally attract the headline sentences chosen by the sentencing judge. In respect of two of the three counts, one year sentences were imposed by the three-judge court and one-and-a-half years for the third of the three. The court was obliged to have regard to the totality principle.

Mr Justice Hedigan, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the new cumulative sentence would be nine years and six months.

As in the court below, he said the Court of Appeal would not suspend any part of the sentence.

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