Appeal against sexual abuse conviction fails

Mr Justice Alan Mahon said neither ground of appeal for unnamed abuser was successful

Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the court was satisfied the trial judge properly exercised her discretion to admit contested  evidence in the trial.

Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the court was satisfied the trial judge properly exercised her discretion to admit contested evidence in the trial.

a
 

A man jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing his step daughter has had his conviction upheld on appeal.

The 55-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to four counts of rape, ten counts of sexual assault, one offence of oral rape and two charges of using an object to penetrate the complainant on dates between 2001 and 2005. The girl was aged between 11 and 15 years old at the time.

He was given concurrent sentences ranging from five to 12 years by Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan on July 4th, 2016.

His conviction was upheld on Thursday after the Court of Appeal found neither of his two grounds of appeal succeeded.

Dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the complainant, her mother and siblings moved to Ireland from abroad in 2001 and they lived in a number of different addresses around Munster.

Mr Justice Mahon said the man abused his step-daughter on a fairly regular basis, unusually when her mother was out of the house working.

A sibling of the victim gave evidence that when their grandmother confronted the man about the allegations, he made admissions. Similar evidence was given by the grandmother.

The complainant’s mother gave evidence to the effect that the man admitted incidents of sexual abuse to her also.

Admissions

The man’s barrister, Ronan Munro SC, submitted that the primary focus of the appeal was the trial judge’s decision not to exclude certain admissions from the evidence.

Mr Munro submitted that the jury had, in effect, been told that his client had admitted everything alleged against him at a time when it was unclear what he was accused of.

The admissions merely established that certain unspecified allegations had been made against his client and that, in response, and in the presence of four witnesses, he maintained that all he had done was innocently touch her breasts while tackling her but at the same time acknowledge that the complainant was telling the truth, Mr Munro submitted.

He said the jury were presented with evidence which suggested the man was guilty of everything as had been alleged.

Mr Justice Mahon said the court was satisfied the trial judge properly exercised her discretion to admit the evidence. The evidence that was given was fairly summarised by the judge in her charge to the jury.

Mr Munro further submitted that the trial judge erred in admitting into evidence, and/or failing to appropriately edit the man’s memorandum of interviews with gardaí. However, this ground was also dismissed.

Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards, and Mr Justice John Hedigan, said neither ground had succeeded and the appeal was therefore dismissed.

a