Rickshaw driver jailed for raping woman on Dublin lane has sentence cut on appeal
A passer-by heard moaning and discovered the woman lying on the ground between a truck and a car
Judge told court that had the case not featured a signed guilty plea, the Court of Appeal “would have dismissed the appeal and upheld the sentence imposed”. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES
A man jailed for raping an intoxicated woman in a lane behind Harcourt Street in Dublin has had his 13-year jail term reduced to 11-and-a-half on appeal.
Rafael Tiso (33), who had been living in rented accommodation at Offaly Road, in Cabra, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty to rape, oral rape, aggravated sexual assault and assault causing harm to the woman at Montague Lane, Dublin on January 18th, 2016.
The Central Criminal Court heard that Tiso was seen leaving a nightclub in the Harcourt Street area with the intoxicated victim and walking with her down a lane. He left the lane 40 minutes later and returned to drink in the same bar for over an hour.
A passer-by heard a moaning noise and discovered the woman lying on the ground between a truck and a car, with her legs spread apart. The man believed the woman was dead at first as her eyes were closed and he did not want to touch her to contaminate the scene.
Both Tiso and the injured party were Brazilian nationals. On the evening in question, Dicey’s, one of the clubs on Harcourt Street, was holding a Brazilian night.
The victim was intoxicated and had also taken an Ecstasy tablet. She was clearly in an inebriated condition, according to witnesses and CCTV.
Another Brazilian man, an acquaintance of both Tiso and the victim, became concerned for her welfare and asked Tiso to stay with her while he got her some water.
Security staff in the club requested she leave. CCTV footage showed Tiso walking behind her as she was assisted out of the club by security staff.
They proceeded down nearby Montague Street and then Montague Lane, where a rickshaw garage is located. Tiso, a rickshaw driver at the time, left the lane 40 minutes later.
The then 23-year-old victim, who can not recall anything of the incident, suffered a deep tear to her rectum.
In his first four Garda interviews, Tiso suggested that consensual sex had occurred but, in the fifth interview, admitted his involvement in the offences.
He was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with the final year suspended by Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy on November 1st, 2016.
However, this was reduced to 12-and-a-half years with the final 12 months suspended on Wednesday, with the Court of Appeal holding that the timing of Tiso’s guilty plea required particular credit.
President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said eight days had passed between the incident and the indication to gardaí that a guilty plea would be lodged. Three months later, Tiso entered signed pleas before the District Court, which were confirmed in the Central Criminal Court one month later. The case was complete within 10 months.
“What occurred here was highly unusual, with the solicitor for the appellant [Tiso] making contact at a very early stage to confirm there would be a plea of guilty.”
Having regard to the circumstances of the plea, Mr Justice Birmingham said some variation to the sentence was required. Had the case not featured a signed guilty plea, he said the Court of Appeal “would have dismissed the appeal and upheld the sentence imposed”.
Other factors which required consideration was the fact Tiso was a non-national whose home country was very distant. Visits from his family were a “rare occurrence” and it was unclear if they would be repeated.
He said the 18-year headline sentence was not an “inappropriate” starting point. But a total time of 11 to 12 years to be served was more appropriate and it was not “a decision the court takes lightly”.
Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Ms Justice Máire Whelan, re-sentenced Tiso to 12-and-a-half years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended.