Tuesday 24 April 2018

Man convicted of sexually abusing two daughters loses conviction appeal

Tim Healy

A MAN convicted of sexually abusing his two daughters in the 1970's and 80's has failed to have an appeal against his conviction considered by the Supreme Court.

The three-judge Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) yesterday ruled the man, now in his 80s and who cannot be named, had not raised a point of law of significant public importance that would allow it refer the case to the Supreme Court.

In 2010, he was found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court in 2010 of rape, buggery and 19 charges of indecent assault against one daughter and 25 counts of indecent assault against another. The children were aged between 5 and 11 years when they were abused.

Mr Justice George Birmingham sentenced the man to concurrent sentences totalling two and a half years, ordered two years post release supervision and that his name be placed on the sex offenders' register.

In victim impact statements the daughters said their father's actions caused devastation in the family. One daughter described their father as "evil."

The man's subsequent appeal against his conviction was dismissed by the CCA.

The man has since been released from prison. However, he maintains his innocence and claims his conviction is unsafe and should be set aside.

In his application to the CCA for his case to be referred to the Supreme Court, the man, representing himself, claimed that he was not properly legally represented at either his trial or during his appeal, which he described as "a sham".

He had complained about the firm of solicitors who represented him in the criminal trial to the Law Society.

He also claimed he was not allowed call witnesses, including his now deceased wife.

He also said that he was not allowed out certain matters before the jury, including that he had an affair which his wife had not forgiven him for.

"This is what it was all about" he said.

The DPP opposed the application and said no important point of law had been raised by him.

In its ruling, the CCA found no grounds on which the appeal could be referred to the Supreme Court.

The grounds for such a referral are narrow and such applications are only granted in exception circumstances, the CCA said.

Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell, presiding in the CCA, also said that while the court did not wish to advise or encourage him in any way in regards to his appeal, if he wished to continue to raise the matters he now complains of, then there are other legal avenues open to him.

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