A father-of-three who raped a woman in the back of his car while on a trip to the beach has been jailed for six and a half years.
The man (37), who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape and sexual assault on a beach in Dublin on October 29, 2015.
Following a trial in May of this year, a jury found him guilty of the count of rape. The jury disagreed on the count of sexual assault.
Ms Justice Tara Burns sentenced the man to eight years’ imprisonment but suspended the final 18 months of the sentence, on condition he follow all directions of the Probation Service for 18 months post-release.
Ms Justice Burns said that while the man had not used violence and it was probable he operated without premeditation, what was clear was that “his sexual desire got the better of him on the night”.
“Every woman is entitled to say ‘no’ at any stage of a sexual encounter, every woman is entitled to withdraw consent at any stage,” she said. She said that even if one took the view that the sexual acts proceeding the rape were consensual, this view did not assist the accused at all.
Ms Justice Burns said the man had three young children with a partner who clearly knew nothing about this offence and was shocked to find out about it. She noted that as a result the accused and his partner were no longer together, though his partner still said he was a good father.
She said a previous conviction for deception was clearly relevant for understanding his character, as the victim had no idea he had a partner and children until the trial began.
In her victim impact statement, which was read out in court, the victim said she felt like the rape was her fault after it happened. She said she felt worthless and dropped out of college.
The woman said that after the rape she no longer wanted anything inside her, including food. She said that when she had to eat she would make herself sick and she “ran off” every calorie she consumed.
“He was walking around as if nothing had happened and I was suffering,” she told the court. She said that she sold her car as she could not bear to drive it and “just knowing he was in it made me sick”.
Detective Garda Karen Griffin told Róisín Lacey SC, prosecuting, that the victim met the man on an online dating website in the Summer of 2015. They met a few times and had consensual sex on a few occasions.
On the day before the rape, the two met and went to the beach in the man's car. While in the car they began to kiss and he made an attempt to open her bra but stopped when she said no repeatedly.
That evening there was a series of text messages exchanged between the two referring to the fact that she had said “no” to him. She said they would have fun again if they met up but he replied “not if you say no again.”
On the date of the offence, the two again went to the beach in the man's car. They began to kiss in the back of the car and the man again put his hands up her top, but did not stop when she told him no.
He removed the women's jeans and underwear and raped her.
Afterwards the man drove her back to her own car and on the way she texted her friend the word “emergency”. The woman went to her friend's house and she brought her to a garda station to report the crime.
The man has two previous convictions, including a conviction for speeding and a conviction for deception, for which he received a three-year sentence that was suspended in full. He is a Pakistani national and has been in the country for over a decade.
Det Gda Griffin agreed with Sean Guerin SC, defending, that aside from the rape itself there was no other violence during the rape. She agreed that the man was not a suspect in any other sexual offences.
Mr Guerin said his client had a long work record in the jurisdiction. He submitted a testimonial from his client's brother which said that the man took charge of the family following their father's death and that he paid for the weddings of his three sisters.
He said that the prison sentence would be more difficult for his client to bear due to not having any family living in Ireland. He submitted that the man was not someone who was at risk of committing future sexual offences and that rehabilitation was a very real prospect for him.
Ms Justice Burns said the aggravating factors in the case were the extremely serious nature of a rape offence, the breach of trust, the profound effect the rape had had on the victim and “his deceptive character” evident by his previous conviction.
She said the mitigating factors were his assuming a father role in his family and offering them financial support, his appearing to be a good father to his children and his excellent work attendance.
A previous trial collapsed in July of 2018 as a result of the jury being discharged after a black juror asked the judge to be excused from the panel because he said he felt uncomfortable around his fellow jurors.