Man (75) has conviction for raping granddaughter quashed

Appeal court’s decision based on reports about whether accused was fit to stand trial

A man has had his conviction for raping his granddaughter quashed after reports were obtained to determine whether he was fit to stand trial at the Central Criminal Court more than a year ago.

A man has had his conviction for raping his granddaughter quashed after reports were obtained to determine whether he was fit to stand trial at the Central Criminal Court more than a year ago.

 

A man has had his conviction for raping his granddaughter quashed after reports were obtained to determine whether he was fit to stand trial at the Central Criminal Court more than a year ago.

Christopher Redmond (75), of Rathvilly Drive, Finglas, Dublin, was recently found to have had a severe form of dementia for some time “with no prospect of recovery”.

A report prepared prior to his trial early last year found him to have a mild cognitive impairment but there was nothing to suggest he was unfit to be tried at that time, the Court of Appeal was told.

Mr Redmond had pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape and five counts of sexually assaulting his granddaughter at the Tolka Valley pitch and putt club, where Redmond worked, on dates between January 2002 and May 2004.

Leanne Murphy, who waived her right to anonymity so that Mr Redmond’s identity could be published, was aged between seven and nine at the time of the alleged abuse.

He was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury following a trial early last year and sentenced to five years imprisonment by Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh on April 27th, 2018.

Impairment

After his conviction, but before he was sentenced, Mr Redmond was assessed by a consultant forensic psychiatrist from the Central Mental Hospital, who found him to be suffering from a significant cognitive impairment. It was likely to have been present for a number of years, the report stated.

However, the question of whether he was fit to be tried, specifically under Section 4 of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006, was not addressed in the report as he had already been convicted.

The Court of Appeal heard that Mr Redmond did not initially respond when he was asked to plead to the first count on the indictment. He had to be prompted and then pleaded not guilty.

His barrister, Andrew Sexton SC, submitted that the safety of Mr Redmond’s conviction had been placed in doubt by the report prepared soon after his conviction. Mr Sexton said his client was in the Midlands Prison in a cell with another individual.

A motion to adduce the report as new evidence was adjourned in April to allow both sides make further enquiries. Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Patrick McGrath SC, told the Court of Appeal on that occasion that the State intended to have Redmond assessed by an expert from the Central Mental Hospital.

‘No prospect’

Mr McGrath told the court on Monday that the assessment had been carried out and Mr Redmond was found to have a “severe form of dementia” with “no prospect of recovery”.

In those circumstances, Mr McGrath said he was instructed to not oppose the appeal and he indicated that there would be no application for a retrial. Mr Justice George Birmingham, the president of the Court of Appeal, said the medical reports set out the position in “very clear and stark terms”. He noted that the DPP was not opposing the appeal.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said the court would allow the appeal and make no further order. No referral was made to the Central Mental Hospital because the court itself had not made any determination.

Sentencing Mr Redmond to five years imprisonment in April 2018, Ms Justice Ní­ Raifeartaigh applied a reduction to the headline sentence on account of Redmond’s progressive cognitive impairments.