Sunday 21 January 2018

Two year increase in sentence for rapist

Tim Healy

A MAN who viciously raped and threatened to kill a woman he dragged from a busy public road has had his prison sentence increased by two years by the Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA).

Gary Kinsella (aged 29) was sentenced to a total of eight years in prison, with one year suspended, by Mr Justice George Birmingham at the Central Criminal Court in April 2010, having pleaded guilty to three counts of raping the then 37-year-old woman on August 8, 2008.

He was given concurrent sentences of five years for threatening to kill and three years for assaulting causing harm to the woman.

Kinsella, who was a soldier in Cathal Brugha Barracks with an address at Allenton Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty on the second day of his trial after initially denying the offences.

Today the three-judge CCA held the original sentence was unduly lenient and increased it to one of ten years in prison with the final six months suspended.

The DPP appealed the original sentence for the rape on grounds including the trial judge failed to attach sufficient weight to the element of premeditation in the attack and that the victim's life had been significantly adversely altered by the attack.

Kinsella's lawyers argued that Mr Justice Birmingham had carefully structured the sentence and had considered the aggravating factors in the case.

Delivering the court's judgment, Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell described the attack as being "every woman's nightmare."

The court noted Kinsella, who was not present in court, stalked his victim as she walked home from a city centre gym, beat her about the face and threatened to kill her as he dragged her from a busy street on to the grounds of a presbytery where he raped her.

Gardaí called to the scene arrested Kinsella after finding him near the naked and hysterical victim.

Mr Justice O Donnell said while the trial judge had considered and was fully aware all the relevant factors in the case, the CCA was "troubled by the overall sentence imposed."

The sentence did not meet the case that had been identified by the trial judge. The starting point of eight years seemed low, and the the suspension of the final year was "somewhat generous," in proportion to the overall sentence.

In this case while the court was right to give Kinsella credit for pleading guilty late in the day, the degree of the resultant discount was "excessive in the circumstances."

The CCA agreed with the trial judge that the rape committed was at the serious end of the scale. However the CCA said that it did not agree that it was at the lower end of that scale of serious offences.

It was a case which involved factors including victim being following, the victim being subjected to serious violence by a well built man who physically dominated her, the degrading nature of the rapes a threat to kill which she believed would have been carried out.

The CCA also noted Kinsella's initial denial of culpability and assertion of consensual sex as being significant factors.

All these elements, the CCA found, "merited a sentence of between 12 and 10 years in prison." Kinsella should serve 10 years for the rape, with the final six months suspended, the CCA ruled.

Kinsella should further be subject to a two year post release supervision programme and his name be entered onto the Sex Offenders Register. The sentences imposed for the assault and threat to kill remain undisturbed.

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