Tuesday 17 September 2019

Man who lifted girl (10) out of bed and sexually assaulted her loses appeal

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Ruaidhrí Giblin

A Cork man who lifted a 10-year-old girl from her bed while she was sleeping has lost an appeal against sentence for sexual assault.

Seán Garvey, aged 52, of Hartland’s Avenue, The Lough, had pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the girl at a house in Cork on February 6, 2016.

He was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to seven years imprisonment with the final two years suspended by Judge Gerard O’Brien on June 1, 2017.

The victim was not related to Garvey. Her family wanted Garvey named in the media following his sentencing. However, it is not possible to publish any information in relation to the case that would identify the victim.

He lost an appeal against his sentence today with the Court of Appeal unable to identify any error in principle.

President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said the 10-year-old girl was awoken around 3am to Garvey lifting her out of bed.

She went to the toilet first, and Garvey attempted to follow her.

She was dragged downstairs by the wrist, according to prosecuting counsel Dermot Sheehan BL, where Garvey attempted to take down her clothes.

The assault came to an end when the girl managed to kick Garvey and wind him. She ran and alerted an adult.

Mr Justice Birmingham said Garvey had a good work record, though his working career had come to an end for medical reasons. A medical report from Garvey’s longtime GP referred to him experiencing stress and anxiety.

He had some previous convictions for road traffic and public order matters but none were relevant to this offence.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the offence was “clearly” a serious one. It had had a very significant affect on the injured party as well as her family.

The fact the case was contested, on a guilty plea, meant the most powerful mitigation that would have been available was not available to Garvey.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said the court could not identify any error in principle and the appeal was therefore dismissed.

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