The Court of Criminal Appeal has reserved judgement in the case of a man appealing against his conviction for indecently assaulting his daughter over 30 years ago.
In April 2010, Judge Frank O’Donnell sentenced the now 66-year-old man to six years with three years suspended after he was found guilty by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury of four counts of indecently assaulting his daughter.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty to all four charges which happened at various locations in Co Kildare on dates between October 1981 and March 1983 when the victim was aged between 12 and 14 years old.
The court heard evidence that the man had forced his daughter to perform sex acts on him in his car when she nearly 15 years old.
Counsel for the applicant, Mr Michael O’Higgins SC, today told the Court of Criminal Appeal that this was a “busy little case” and while there were a number of grounds of appeal there was one issue that stood “head and shoulders” above all others.
He said this concerned the contention advanced by the defence that evidence of a family confrontation taken at its height could be viewed as an admission by the man to sexual abuse.
During the trial the court heard evidence that the victim recalled an incident in about 1994 when her father was confronted about the alleged abuse.
She said herself, her sister and her mother were in a pub when her sister told her father that she knew what had happened.
She said they went back to her sister’s house and there was a lot of shouting between her sister and her father.
The victim said her father admitted the sexual abuse to her sister and apologised.
Mr O’Higgins said the question that arose was whether a jury, taking that admission in to account, could be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that it referred to one of the counts on the indictment.
He submitted that it could not be said with any confidence that this general admission was connected to the four counts on the indictment.
Mr Sean Gillane SC, for the State, countered that general admissions of the class raised in the trial are admissible and were held to be admissible in this case.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Liam McKechnie said the appeal court would reserve its judgement.
He remanded the man, who was granted bail by the Court of Criminal Appeal in June 2010 pending his appeal, on bail on the same terms and conditions as previously applied.