Victim 'vindicated' by rapist's sentence
Rape and sexual assault survivor Fiona Doyle has said she feels "vindicated” after a court ruled her father’s bail be revoked.
Sentencing judge Mr Justice Paul Carney today admitted it was “insensitive and not appropriate” to let 72-year-old Patrick O’Brien walk free from Dublin’s Central Criminal Court on Monday. He had raped and sexually assaulted his daughter over a nine year period from 1973.
O’Brien’s jail term, including nine years suspended, starts now, the judge ruled.
Speaking on the steps of the Central Criminal Court this morning, Ms Doyle said she accepted Judge Carney’s regret at what happened.
“I feel vindicated and that was all I wanted,” she said. Surrounded by family members, she said in her father’s present state, the three year sentence is a "lifetime" for him.
“I would just like to ask my Dad, as a sign of remorse, not to appeal this three year sentence,” she said.
Asked if she was surprised her father had previously applied for bail, she said she was.
“I remember looking over at him and thinking, you can’t do that to me, but he did. Maybe it’s just him being scared of jail, I don’t know. I’m just happy at what happened today.”
Describing her feelings at watching him being led from court today to begin his sentence, she said: “I stood there and waited until he went right through those doors. I watched him go through those doors and that was all I wanted. He might now feel the loneliness and the lack of support and the isolation that I have felt for over 40 years.
“I’ve waited for this day for over 20 years, since I first brought the first complaint to the gardai and the HSE. They were like everybody else, my school, my teachers, doctors - they let me down. Nobody would believe me,” she said.
She said today, she was walking away with “no baggage”.
Asked what she would say to other victims who might feel deterred from seeking justice because of her court experience, she said: “Look at my face today compared to last week. I’m happy. It’s been a rough ride, but it’s worth it.”
On whether the DPP should appeal the leniency of her father’s sentence, she said, “I’m am not sure what the DPP is going to do, whatever they decide I will support, but I’m just happy that he is not going home today.”
Ms Doyle said she was “still looking forward” to meeting Taoiseach Enda Kenny next Wednesday.
“I look forward to putting my case across and putting across my hurt and the problems I found with this system and getting this case brought to right and maybe also to discussing what happened when I first went to the guards and the HSE 20 years ago,” she said.
Of support she received from the investigators, the people of Bray, supporters on Facebook and the media, she said: “They have just been amazing, they have picked me up and carried me.”
Ms Doyle also praised her children saying, “They are just wonderful, I am so proud of them…I’m just so proud that they turned out the fine adults that they have turned out.”