The Court of Criminal Appeal has reduced the prison sentence imposed on a 32-year-old man for the rape of his three-year-old daughter from 12 years to eight.
Today the three-judge court held that the man was entitled to a reduction in his sentence because the sentencing judge had not fully taken account of the man's early admissions of guilt.
In March 2008, the man who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with the final three years suspended, following his plea of guilty to two counts of oral rape on his then three-year-old daughter.
The rapes occurred in March-April 2005. The sentence was imposed by Mr Justice Barry White at the Central Criminal Court. However the man appealed against the severity of that sentence.
Today at the CCA, Mr Patrick Gagesby SC for the man, said that the trial judge had erred by imposing a sentence that was severe given the various mitigating circumstances, including an early plea of guilty.
Accepting that this was a serious crime counsel said his client had made admissions at an early stage, without which there could never have been a prosecution.
Counsel said that his client, who had no previous convictions and was hard working, had shown genuine remorse for his actions. Counsel added that Mr Justice White had not fully taken this into account.
Opposing the appeal Rosario Boyle SC for the DPP argued that there was no error and that the sentence should stand.
The CCA of Mr Justice Jospeh Finnegan presiding, sitting with Mr Justice Declan Budd and Mr Justice Liam McKechnie agreed with Mr Gageby and quashed the original sentence.
When all the mitigating factors were taken into account, the CCA held that the sentencing judge's starting point of 15 years was too high.
The CCA said it was quashing the 12-year sentence and in its place imposed one of 10 years with the final two years suspended.
Mr Justice Finnegan said that the CCA accepted that this was "a most serious crime" and the court had to take into account the effect that the offences had on the young child.
However, the court noted that the man admitted his guilt at an early stage, despite an initial denial, so that his daughter would be able to get counselling for what was done to her.
It was also accepted that without his admissions there could have been no prosecution against the man.