Wednesday 24 January 2018

Sentence reduced for man who met girl (13) for sexual exploitation

By Darren Hassett

A Pakistani man jailed for travelling to meet a 13-year-old girl for the purpose of sexual exploitation has had his sentence reduced at the Court of Appeal.

Muhammad Hussain was jailed for four years last year in what was the first prosecution taken under child protection legislation.

He had pleaded not guilty to travelling to meet a child with the intention of doing an act that would constitute sexual exploitation on July 22 2011.

But was convicted and jailed by Judge Sarah Berkeley at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on April 4 last year.

Hussain, with a last address at Steam Boat Quay, Limerick City, successfully appealed against his sentence in the Court of Appeal in February and a reduced sentence of three years - with the final nine months suspended - was imposed today.

Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan, who sat with Mr Justice Gerard Hogan and Ms Justice Mary Irvine, said: "The sentence of four years was appropriate before mitigation.”

In a report the court received from the assistant-governor of the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise, the court heard that there were no disciplinary issues relating to the appellant since his conviction and he had been attending classes.

The court heard the appellant “invited” the child which was “distinct from inducing or coercing the child” and that the “gravity of this offence…is at the lower end of the spectrum.”

But Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan said “no matter where it is placed”, she continued by saying it is an “inherently serious offence”.

She said the appellant had “made admissions of fact to the Gardaí…had no previous relevant convictions” and had “a good work ethic record and was supporting his family in Pakistan”.

She added the appellant had expressed remorse and was “a foreign national far from home without family support”.

The Court of Appeal stated that the appellant’s reduced sentence had three conditions.

The first was that he must keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan also stated that if the prison authorities offer him a course/counselling relevant to the offence committed that he will co-operate and attend.

While the third condition of the reduced sentence related to his compliance with a deportation order which had been issued by the Immigration Authority.

Mr Hussain took an undertaking not to appeal the order upon his release.

The accused will remain on the Sex Offenders Registry.

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