Dublin man fails in bid to take abuse case to Supreme Court

A Dublin man convicted of sexually abusing his partner’s daughter over an eight-year period has failed in a bid to take his case to the Supreme Court.

Lawyers for convicted armed robber Christopher Griffin (aged 39) had argued before the Court of Criminal Appeal that his case raised two points of “exceptional public importance” which required determination by the Supreme Court.

The CCA of Mrs Justice Fidelma Macken presiding, sitting with Mr Justice Eamon deValera and Mr Justice Paul Gilligan, ruled that neither issue could be considered suitable grounds on which to issue a certificate of referral to the Supreme Court.

Griffin was jailed for life by the Central Criminal Court in April 2007, having been found guilty of one count of the oral rape of his partner’s daughter in 1998, one count of rape in 2001 and nine counts of indecently assaulting her on dates between 1993 and 1998.

The victim was aged between eight and 16 when the abuse took place.

Counsel for Griffin, Michael O'Higgins SC, had argued that an assertion by trial judge Mr Justice Paul Carney that the trial would proceed to a conclusion no matter what application was made amounted to a blanket ruling by the judge.

At an appeal hearing in June 2009, Mr O’Higgins had also argued that the original trial judge should have discharged the jury given the absence of a key prosecution witness- the mother of the complainant - who was deemed “physically and mentally unfit” to give evidence.

Mr O’Higgins contended that the rejection of this as legitimate grounds for appeal by the CCA had essentially placed the onus on the accused to establish that the evidence of a missing witness was centrally supportive of his innocence.

In a written judgement, the court found that further applications made on behalf of Griffin to have the trial halted after the issuance of the so-called “blanket ban” contradicted the contention that the trial judge had prohibited or actively discouraged the making of further applications.

The CCA also found that it did not suggest or determine there was any obligation on Griffin to establish the centrally supportive nature of the missing evidence and to suggest otherwise was a “misreading” of its judgement on appeal.

In a further hearing at the CCA, Griffin, who has 18 previous convictions, succeeded in having an “unusual” application to have his own appeal against the severity of his sentenced adjourned.

Mr O’Higgin’s told the court that Griffin was taking proceedings in the High Court on an issue on a warrant made against him and the timeframe in respect of his appeal hearing.

The court acceded to an application by Mr O’Higgins to have the hearing adjourned to a later date, given the potentially prejudicial effect of a CCA ruling on the High Court proceedings.


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