Ten year sentences for Cork attack

Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 00:00

Two men have been jailed for ten years for partaking in the gang rape of a young woman out socialising which a judge compared to something from a wildlife documentary such was its predatory nature.

Mr Justice Paul Carney said that the two men, aged 19 and 21, had nothing in their favour when it came to mitigation in relation to the offences of which they had been convicted at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Dublin in November.

The 21-year-old had been convicted of sexual assault and attempted rape and the 19-year-old had been convicted of sexual assault, attempted rape and oral rape of the woman while he had earlier pleaded guilty to stealing her car, all on September 13th 2009.

Today at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork, Mr Justice Carney recalled that the woman had been on a mystery bus tour for a birthday party but had become separated from her friends after becoming intoxicated.

She was picked up by a number of males in a white van and he noted that they had "customised the van for sex" by putting a mattress in the back and had unsuccessfully tried to pick up a number of other girls before coming upon the injured party.

"She was wandering abroad in an intoxicated condition and they behaved as a predator would towards a wounded quarry in a David Attenborough documentary," said Mr Justice Carney adding that "unspeakable outrages were perpetrated on the woman."

Mr Justice Carney said that the accused had long left their childhood behind them when they perpetrated the offences on the victim and their youth would not confer them with any special treatment in terms of sentencing.

The most significant mitigating factor in any case was a guilty plea but they had contested their guilt in a "insulting and contemptuous manner" and while they could not be penalised for that, they were not entitled to the benefit they would have received if they had pleaded guilty.

Equally their failure to show any remorse for the actions and continue to contest their guilt even after conviction meant mitigation on that score was not available to them while the higher courts had also ruled that a dysfunctional background was not grounds for mitigation.

Mr Justice Carney also noted that both men had previous convictions for a series of other offences so previous good character was similarly not available to them as mitigation. "Had they been jailed earlier in their criminal careers, they would have been in a better place now."

He noted that one of the accused had come and gone as he pleased during the trial and he didn’t intervene as he wanted the jury to form their own opinion as to how the man was approaching the seriousness of the case.

"I noted that one of the accused has been blubbering throughout the case - as he is now - I am satisfied that they are tears of self-pity rather than tears of remorse," said Mr Justice Carney as jailed both men for ten years and ordered they both be registered as sex offenders.

Earlier this week, the victim, now aged 34, told in her Victim Impact Statement how the how she feared on the night that she was going to be killed by the gang and how comments about her during the trial had made feel she was being attacked again.

"I was terrified, so terrified that I don’t think it sank in .... I knew what was being done to me was bad but I knew that they could do something even worse to me. knew I was in a dangerous situation, I literally feared for my life," she said.

"It was horrible how they tried to make out it was consensual, suggesting I would have casual sex with random strangers. How could it be consensual with ripped clothes and bruises Some of the comments being made about me made me feel as if I was being attacked again.

"I hate that I’m seen as a victim ... I’m still the same person I was but I know that people when they hear what happened to me, they change towards me. It seems I am to be marked by it forever."