An African man who sexually abused the intellectually disabled daughter of his former partner has been jailed for 13 years.
The sentencing judge noted the mother of the child felt under intense social pressure within her community here and abroad and had expressed a wish that the accused man not go to prison.
She declined to complete a victim impact statement on behalf of her daughter.
The trial heard evidence that the man was watching television with the child. He pulled her trousers down and raped her and told her repeatedly “I love you”.
The 54-year-old man, who cannot be identified to protect the victim's identity, was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury earlier this year of rape, anal rape and sexual assault of the girl at her home on dates between April 2015 and September 2016 at a Dublin address.
The victim was aged between 11 and 12 years old at the time of the offending.
Mr Justice Alex Owens noted that the accused man maintains his innocence and has given no indication of remorse. He said the offending fell into the most serious category.
He noted the vulnerability of the victim, the gross abuse of trust and the fact the sexual abuse has long-lasting detrimental effects on victims.
Mr Justice Owens noted the child's mother had been a “reluctant witness” who had given evidence in support of the prosecution but expressed a wish that the accused man not go to prison.
The judge said social pressure within ethnic groups could not be a factor in sentencing.
He noted a probation report placed the accused man at a high risk of sexual re-offending and said the man needed to gain insight into his offending and control over his sex drive.
Mr Justice Owens imposed a sentence of 13 years imprisonment and ordered post-release supervision of six years on strict conditions which include offence-focused work, psychological counselling and keeping away from activities with or caring for under 18-year-olds.
A local garda told Caroline Biggs BL, prosecuting, that the victim disclosed the abuse to her sister and mother in 2016, shortly after the relationship between her mother and the accused broke down.
The accused man used opportunities during visits and overnight stays at the girl's home to abuse her.
The man, who is the father of a number of children, both in Ireland and in his home country, has minor previous convictions.
Mr Justice Owens noted the accused man was a foreign national but said he had chosen to live here and wasn't in the position of being locked up in a foreign land far from family and friends.