Sunday 25 February 2018

Man (21) who raped family friend (15) sentenced to eight years in prison

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Stock picture

Fiona Ferguson

A 21-year old Louth man who raped a 15-year-old family friend has been sentenced to eight years in prison

The now 23-year-old accused, who cannot be named to protect his victim's identity, was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury following a trial earlier this month of rape and defilement of the girl at his home between the 4th and 5th of October 2014.

He has no previous convictions and is maintaining his innocence of the charges.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy was asked to partially suspended the sentence but refused, noting that there were no mitigation factors in favour of the man.

Garda Shane Corrigan told Bernard Condon SC, prosecuting, that the victim knew the accused man through her family and on the night in question there had been some messaged exchanged. He suggested she come to his house to hang out and smoke a joint.

She went up to his bedroom and they kissed on the bed. He then got on top of her and forced his penis into her vagina a number of times as she asked him to stop. Afterwards she got dressed and he told her if she said anything her father would find out. He offered her a bag of weed for free.

Later in the week she told her mother and they went to gardaí. She was also examined at a sexual assault treatment unit and a DNA sample of semen in her underwear matched the accused's profile.

In her victim impact statement the girl said she had trust issues after the offence and felt there were rumours going around about her. It also affected her schoolwork and sleep.

“The trial was very hard when I heard the verdict I cried with relief,” said the victim, “It was a relief to know I was believed. I am happy now no one can say I was lying.”

Giollaíosa O'Lideadha SC, defending, said his client was maintaining his innocence but he was instructed to apologise that he had invited the complainant to his house and that he had provided cannabis to her.

He handed in a number of testimonials from family members, work and sports clubs on behalf of his client. He said the accused was a good father and had been a talented football player.

Mr O'Lideadha outlined some of the testimonials which characterised the accused as hard working, friendly and polite as well as a positive influence in the upbringing of his own son and several other young people in his life.

He submitted that cannabis had been a dominant part of the accused life at that time.

Counsel asked the court to take into account that the horrific aggravating circumstances present in other cases were absent in this case.

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