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Friday 16 November 2018

Life for the nun who raped a child

AIDEEN SHEEHAN

LAWYERS for the former nun jailed for life for raping a child in her care are to appeal the conviction next week, alleging a possible miscarriage of justice.

LAWYERS for the former nun jailed for life for raping a child in her care are to appeal the conviction next week, alleging a possible miscarriage of justice.

The Sisters of Mercy Order have demanded an independent inquiry into the events which led to Nora Wall, formerly Sister Dominic, being convicted of this crime.

The first woman to be convicted of rape in this country Nora Wall (51) received the maximum sentence for a crime which Mr Justice Paul Carney said was ``gang rape''.

Nora Wall from Clonliffe Avenue, Dublin and homeless man Pablo McCabe (50) were sentenced to 20 years and 12 years respectively for raping Regina Walsh (21) when she was 10-years-old at St Michael's Child Care Centre in Cappoquin, Co Waterford in 1987 or 1988.

The judge refused the defence leave to appeal but lawyers indicated they would take the case to the Court of Criminal Appeal next week, initially seeking bail for the two convicts.

Defence counsel Hugh Hartnett SC said the prosecution had failed to disclose potentially significant evidence, and further vital information had come to light since the trial regarding previous sexual abuse allegations made by a crucial witness.

Mr Justice Carney refused leave to appeal to the defence on the grounds of non-disclosure but said they could take their case to the higher court if they had new evidence. Sentencing Ms Wall and Mr McCabe, he said he did not find anything in favour of either of them.

``This was a gang rape. The leader of the gang was the only person in the world who was charged with the protection of Regina Walsh.

``I don't think I need to say more than that,'' he added.

Although Regina Walsh declined to speak in court, a poem she had written about her ordeal was read aloud in court.

The Mercy Order said they had removed Nora Wall from her position as administrator in 1990 because of ``grave concerns'' about her fitness for the job, though she had remained a nun until she left voluntarily in 1994.

There had been serious management problems in the home at the time, but the Superior General ``had no knowledge or suspicion of sexual abuse'' at that time, Order spokesperson Sr Coirle McCarthy said.

The Order acknowledged the deep hurt and suffering of all those who had been damaged by the events in the home where Sr Dominic was in charge for 12 years.

Welcoming the imposition of a maximum sentence, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre director Olive Braiden said it would ensure Nora Wall would be monitored for the rest of her life to prevent any recurrence.

Ms Wall's family insisted she was innocent and would continue to fight for the truth to come out.

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