Woman loses appeal to quash conviction for sexual assault on brother

Complainant told the trial he was aged nine and his sister 21 when she began abusing him

A woman (47) has failed in her appeal to have her conviction quashed for sexually assaulting her brother over 25-years-ago when she was 21 and he was aged nine.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her victim, had appealed both her conviction and her sentence from Cork Circuit Criminal Court in late 2018.

But on Monday at the Court of Appeal sitting in Cork, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, Mr Justice George Bermingham and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy dismissed her appeal after hearing submissions on her behalf by defence counsel Vincent Heneghan SC.

The woman had denied a total of ten counts of sexual assault on her brother on various dates between 1993 and 1995 at various locations in the State when she went on trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court last year.


The complainant in the case had told the trial his sister had begun abusing him when he was aged nine and she was aged 21 and they were alone in the family home and in a hotel room together.

The complainant had cut all ties with his family when he reached adulthood. However when his sister and his parents learned that he had become a father, they made an application through the courts for access to the man’s infant son.

In the course of the access case, the man learned that his sister was on the board of management of a local school and concerned she might have access to children, he reported her abuse to gardaí in 2015.

The jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court found the woman guilty on four of the 10 counts including three sexual assaults at the family home in Cork and one assault while staying in a hotel in Dublin city centre.

Sentencing the woman at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Brian O’Callaghan accepted she had no previous convictions and had never come to the attention of the gardaí before or since this incident and was unlikely to re-offend.

However Judge O’Callaghan said he had hoped there would be some expression of remorse from the woman for everyone’s sake in the case but it was clear that she had no insight or appreciation of the harm she had caused.

He imposed an 18 months sentence for the first the two sexual assaults but suspended them in their entirety. However the later two assaults were of a more serious nature and he jailed her for six months, which she has since served.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times