Six-year term for abduction to Egypt of nephew (2)

 

A MAN who abducted his two-year-old nephew, taking him to his own family in Egypt where the boy still remains, has been jailed for six years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Patrick McCartan was told the child’s father, the defendant’s brother who was convicted by a jury earlier this month, has offered to return the now four-year-old boy to his Irish mother if his brother is let out of prison. The boy’s father has since left his home in Ireland and is now living in Egypt too.

Judge McCartan said: “This court will never engage in a trade of a child. The position of the child is in my mind, paramount. He is the innocent victim in all of this.”

“I am disposed to have the case re-entered before me on the infant’s safe return to Ireland and on that day I will be disposed to review the sentence – if his family are interested in this man’s freedom . . . ,” Judge McCartan said.

The 26-year-old man was found guilty of, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, intentionally taking the child from the lawful control of his mother on July 28th, 2009, at Dublin airport. He had initially denied the charge.

The judge described it as “an appalling offence”. He commended the work of Garda Sgt Vincent Connolly and colleagues for the way they dealt with the investigation and on how they presented “the compelling evidence” in court.

He did not accept a suggestion from Trevor Loughnane, defending, that it was a mitigating factor that the boy was not mistreated or abused by his father’s family in Cairo.

“I do not believe there is any greater abuse than forcibly taking an infant from his natural environment and taking him to a place far away,” the judge said.

He also referred to the evidence of a taxi driver during the trial who testified that he took the man and the little boy to Dublin airport and described the infant as crying constantly during the journey.

Garda Sgt Connolly told Tara Burns, prosecuting, that the man had used a passport belonging to his brother’s daughter, from another relationship, to get the boy out of Ireland.

He said the child’s parents were not in a relationship at the time but the father had access to him and the mother had allowed her son to stay with his father for two nights on July 27th. She returned on the day arranged to collect him and found he was not there.

The court heard the woman had previously visited Cairo with her partner during the course of their relationship where she married the defendant, on her partner’s instigation, to allow his brother to return to Ireland with them and take up residency here.

A victim impact statement prepared by the child’s mother stated that it had been a catastrophic event for both her and her extended family. She suffered from stress, anxiety and sleepless nights and was missing her son terribly.

The statement also said that the woman’s two visits to Cairo, since the child’s abduction, had been “unsatisfactory” and had been terribly traumatic for both her and her son.

Judge McCartan refused to accept a suggestion from Mr Loughnane that his client’s life had been threatened if he refused to take the boy to Egypt.