Man loses appeal against sentence for abuse of young relative

Dubliner (57) jailed for eight years over ‘intense’ sexual abuse of female cousin

Mr Justice George Birmingham said there was evidence the victim, who was the man’s second cousin, engaged in self-harm as a teenager and experienced significant psychological damage. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Mr Justice George Birmingham said there was evidence the victim, who was the man’s second cousin, engaged in self-harm as a teenager and experienced significant psychological damage. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

A 57-year-old Dublin man jailed for the “intense” sexual abuse of a young relative while she was being cared for in his home, has lost an appeal against the severity of his eight-year sentence for indecent assault.

The man, who cannot be identified in order to protect his victim’s identity, was convicted by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury of 41 counts of indecent assault of the girl at his family home between 1983 and 1986. She was aged between six and nine at the time of the abuse.

The man was sentenced to eight years imprisonment with the final year suspended by Judge Gerard O’Brien on February 8th, 2016.

He lost an appeal against the conviction in May and lost an appeal against the severity of his sentence on Tuesday.

Giving judgment in the three-judge Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham said the man had stood trial on a 50-count indictment for indecently assaulting the victim each month while being minded by the man’s mother at their home.

Mr Justice Birmingham said there was evidence the victim, who was the man’s second cousin, engaged in self-harm as a teenager and experienced significant psychological damage. She has been on medication for depression for most of her life.

The sentencing judge saw the aggravating factors as the psychological harm caused to the victim, the age disparity and the systemic nature of the abuse.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the case was “robustly contested” and the only clear mitigating factor identified by the sentencing judge was that the man had no previous convictions of any type whatsoever.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the Court of Appeal accepted the sentence was a severe one.

Undoubtedly, this was a “very bad case involving intense abuse of a very young child over a prolonged period” which resulted in “very serious” long-term damage to the victim. The case was always going to have to be met by a long sentence, he said.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Hedigan, said the sentencing court may have decided to impose a sentence somewhat less than the one imposed but the Court of Appeal could not conclude that the sentence fell outside the range available.