Thursday 23 November 2017

Lawyers say man who raped girl should not be jailed because he was minor at the time

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Declan Brennan

Lawyers for a Kildare man who raped an eleven year old girl have said he should not be jailed because he was a minor at the time of the assaults.

The now 23-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, set up blindfold games with the girl during which he would put his penis into her mouth.

The victim told the Central Criminal Court that the abuse made her feel sick and that the abuser had a control over her which struck fear into her.

Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, pointed to legal authorities that state an offender must be sentenced based on his age and other circumstances at the time of offending. He said this meant that the court must take as a starting point for sentencing his age of 15.

He added that under 2001 Children’s Act “detention must be considered only as a last resort” when sentencing a legal juvenile.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said he accepted that the starting point for sentencing must be that he was 15 at the time. The judge said that unlike most other rape cases this case was “arguably” not one where it was simply a matter of deciding how long to jail the offender for.

“Maybe this is a different case. It's a very finely balanced matter. I want to give it some thought,” he said.

Earlier he pointed out to the defence that the Court of Appeal had recently overturned as “unduly lenient” a suspended sentence imposed on Norwegian Magnus Meyer Hustveit (26), who pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping his then partner while she slept.

The man pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault in a shed at his home in Co. Kildare on dates in October and December 2008. He also pleaded guilty to oral rape at his home in April 2009 and in a woodland near his home in May 2009.

After his arrest in 2013 the man admitted the offending. He told gardai that “it was just an experiment” and that he had wondered what it would be like.

He said he was very sorry. He has no other convictions. The victim, now aged 19, said the abuse took away her childhood and destroyed her self-confidence.

Mr Justice Hunt adjourned the case to November 28 next for sentence. He remanded the man on continuing bail. He told the man's lawyers that allowing him to stay out on bail was no indication of what his sentence will be.

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