Woman raped by father 'devastated' at sentencing
A woman who was raped for 10 years from the age of seven by her father has said she is devastated that he walked free from court yesterday.
Patrick O’Brien (72), from Bray, Co Wicklow, raped and sexually assaulted his daughter Fiona Doyle from 1973 to 1982 beginning the night before her First Holy Communion.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Paul Carney gave him a 12-year sentence, suspending nine years, and allowed him out on continuing bail pending an appeal.
The judge said this was a fit case for appeal because of the issues arising, though neither side made any indication they wanted leave to appeal. He also said it was one of the worst cases of abuse of a daughter one could find and the offences were at the top of the scale.
If he imposed a heavy sentence unsuspended he would be “branded as a trial judge who substituted one injustice for another,” he said. “I am trying to strike a balance.”
Speaking outside the court, Ms Doyle said she could not believe what had happened.
“Last week I felt great. I was vindicated and I was told I was telling the truth. He admitted it. He pleaded guilty. For him to walk out of here today without serving one day is just devastating,” she said. She believed his health issues had been exaggerated “to a great level”.
“But I was more upset that the judge said he has been a good character,” she said.
In her victim impact statement, Ms Doyle said as a result of the abuse her first marriage failed and she twice attempted suicide. The first time she was abused her mother “went off to bingo . . . almost certainly knowing what he would do”.
Rape Crisis Network Ireland director Fiona Neary said anyone who cared about the sexual abuse of children would be very concerned at the sentencing.