Saturday 24 March 2018

Woman jailed for 16 months for sexual exploitation of four year old daughter

Declan Brennan

A YOUNG woman has been jailed for 16 months for the sexual exploitation of her four-year-old daughter which involved filming the child with a semi-naked man.

The offence came to light when a member of the public found a crushed mobile phone on the road and checked the contents of the phone’s memory card using a second phone.

The video found on the memory card showed the child’s father lying on a bed naked from the waist down and the child’s face coming close to the man’s groin area.

The woman can be heard laughing and telling the child to “smile for the camera” on the mobile phone footage.

The 28-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to sexually assaulting and sexually exploiting the female child on March 12, 2010 in Dublin.

Judge Martin Nolan described the woman’s actions as “squalid” and reprehensible and said she had failed elementally in her duty as a mother to protect her child.

He imposed a sentence of three years on both counts but suspended all but 16 months of the prison term, after accepting that the woman was genuinely sorry for the offences.

During the sentencing hearing the video footage was viewed only by Judge Nolan.

The sound of two adults and a child laughing could be heard in court.

Detective Garda Brian Jennings told Giollaiosa O' Lideadha SC, defending, that when gardai showed the video footage to the woman she said she was sickened by it and she began visibly gagging.

Defence counsel said his client had a serious drink problem and was drunk on the night the video was made.

He said there was a complicated and very unsavoury psychological factor involved in his client’s relationship with her ex-partner, the man in the video. He said this was related to trying to maintain a relationship with him.

He said his client was emotionally unstable with a limited cognitive ability. He said she had to get over her disgust at what happened before she was able to accept fully her own role, which she now does.

A report handed into the court said she is at a low risk of committing sexual offences in the future and that she should continue with therapy.

Mr O’Lideadha said she hasn’t drunk alcohol since February 2011 and has completed a twelve steps alcoholic recovery programme.

Judge Nolan noted the woman has problems and is not “the brightest person” but said he believed that she probably did know that what she did was reprehensible.

He said she was in a drunken state when the offence was committed and he believed she is genuinely sorry. He noted that she has lost custody of her daughter but lately has supervised visitation rights.

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