Man (65) jailed for sexually assaulting partner’s niece

Martin Cawley from Tallaght claimed girl’s mother was ‘behind’ allegation due to family feud

A man who sexually assaulted his partner’s niece and then claimed her mother had fabricated the allegation due to a family feud has been jailed by a judge at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph:  Matt Kavanagh

A man who sexually assaulted his partner’s niece and then claimed her mother had fabricated the allegation due to a family feud has been jailed by a judge at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

A man who sexually assaulted his partner’s niece and then claimed her mother had fabricated the allegation due to a family feud has been jailed.

Martin Cawley (65), of Drumcairn Parade, Tallaght, Dublin, was found guilty by a jury of a single count of sexually assaulting the girl at his home on a date in October 2013, when she was 10. The trial was held in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in July.

When interviewed by gardaí, Cawley gave them a hand-written statement in which he alleged the child’s mother was “behind it” as she was having a “feud” with her sister, the man’s partner. He declined to comment further.

The trial heard the girl was in Cawley’s home on the day in question while her mother visited her grandfather in hospital. She was in the sitting room when Cawley came in, exposed himself, held her down and simulated sex while on top of her. The offence came to light when the girl confided in her sister and her parents went to gardaí­in 2015. Cawley was interviewed and charged in early 2016.

In a victim impact statement outlined in court by Kate Egan BL, prosecuting, the complainant, who is now 18, said she has suffered from insomnia, depression and high levels of anxiety as a result of the assault.

Trust issues

She said she constantly covers up her body and has severe trust issues. She worries about how it might affect her in the future.

Ms Egan told the court that the complainant had informed the Director of Public Prosecutions that she wished to waive her anonymity, allowing for the naming of Cawley as per the 1981 Rape Act.

The court heard that Cawley has expressed his remorse in general terms but had not said he accepts the verdict of the jury. He has 46 previous convictions including for one sexual offence.

John Fitzgerald SC, defending, said that while aged 65, his client is “an elderly man” as a result of various health issues, including diabetes, heart problems and prostate cancer. He said that Cawley, who is in custody on another matter, has found his time in prison difficult.

Judge Karen O’Connor imposed a three year prison term but said she would suspend the final nine months in light of Cawley’s health issues. She commended the complainant’s bravery in coming forward and said the woman presented herself with great dignity throughout the trial process.