Saturday 20 July 2019

Man who raped ex to be released despite claims he didn't participate fully in sex offender treatment

The Central Criminal Court
The Central Criminal Court

Declan Brennan

A rapist who had part of his prison term suspended will be released today, despite an allegation that he did not participate adequately in a sex offender treatment programme.

On the night of August 9, 2013 the man, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of the victim, broke into his ex-partner's home and repeatedly raped her during a five-hour ordeal.

Armed with a hatchet, the Cork man forced his way into her home and threatened to kill her by driving them both into the sea. He also cut her off her hair with a scissors because she wasn’t performing sexual acts to his liking.

The 58-year-old had initially denied the attack but later pleaded guilty to rape at the woman’s Cork home in the early hours of August 9, 2013. He has no previous convictions.

In October 2013, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan imposed a ten-year sentence but suspended the last three years on condition that the man be of good behaviour for the ten years. He also set a condition that the man engage with the “Better Lives” sex offender treatment programme while in custody.

With remission the man is due for release today and yesterday the DPP made an application at the Central Criminal Court for the suspension to be revoked on the basis that he had not participated fully in the programme.

A revocation by the court would have seen him serving out the remaining three years in custody.

Joseph McCarthy, a senior probation officer at Arbour Hill prison, told the court it was the view of the clinical team dealing with the offender that the conditions attached to the suspension were not met.

He said the man was in significant denial about substantial elements of his offending.

“He has profound difficulty acknowledging the sexual harmful behaviour in his offending,” the witness told Mr Justice Paul McDermott.

He added that the man initially engaged with the programme until it moved to a second level involving group work. He said the man has not progressed sufficiently with offence disclosure work.

Mr Justice McDermott asked if was part of the State's case that the man posed a public safety threat. Dara Hayes BL, for the DPP, said this was not the case.

Counsel told the court that a report from the psychologist who engaged with the man as part of the treatment programme would take more time to produce. The judge said he needed this report and needed to know the reasons for the limited engagement.

He said he didn't think this was a case of wilful refusal to engage and said he suspected there was an inability to engage with the next level of the treatment. He noted that had been a degree of participation by the man and he had “cleared the first hurdle” in the programme but that a problem arose at the next stage.

Blaise O'Carroll SC, defending, told the court the man had somewhere to go in Cork and would stay with his brother.

Justice McDermott said he would let the sentence stand and rule on the alleged breach at a future hearing. He adjourned it to March to allow time for the psychologist's report.

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