Man loses appeal against sentence for sex assault on step-daughter

A man “of good standing within the community” who sexually assaulted his young step-daughter over a three year period lost an appeal against the severity of his sentence today.

The CCA, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman presiding, sitting with Mr Justice Declan Budd and Mr Justice Daniel O’Keefe said it was not satisfied the 10-year term imposed on the man was “wrong in principle” given the “considerable degree of depravity involved”.

The man, who is from the South East but cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of 43 counts of sexually assaulting the girl on dates between 2002 and 2006.

The girl was then aged between 10 and 13 years.

He was jailed for two consecutive terms of five years in prison by the Circuit Court on March 13, 2009.

Mr Barry Hickson SC, for the man, said his client was appealing the severity of the sentence on the grounds that it was “excessive” in the circumstances.

Counsel for the applicant said he had “never been in trouble with the law “prior to his conviction for the sexual abuse, and had no previous convictions.

The court heard that “all but one” of the assaults took place within the family home, and that as the girl’s step father, the man was in “a position of trust”.

The DDP opposed the application.

Counsel for the State, Mr Philip Sheahan BL, said there were few mitigating factors to be taken into account.

Dismissing the sentence appeal today, the court held that while some features of the sentencing structure were “unusual”, it was not convinced there was any “error in principle”.

The three-judge appeals court said it was “favourable” to describe the offences committed as being on the “middle range of the scale”, and said the sexual abuse had had a “considerable and continuing effect” on the victim.

The 10-year prison term was affirmed.

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