Jailed for sexually assaulting niece, 12

A 48-year-old man commenced a full sexual relationship with his 12-year-old niece by first kissing her and telling her that this would cure her spots.

He was jailed yesterday for seven years at Cork Circuit Criminal Court for defilement of the child and sexual assaults over a six-month period.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “He singled out this girl and gave her particular attention and worked his way into her good books.

“He took advantage of her where there was a significant age difference. He was a fully grown, married man.

“His actions had a significant effect on the victim and on her family. It destroyed her for a while, to the extent that she thought of suicide. Thankfully, this girl is very steadfast now and she thinks the future is bright for her.

“The accused has shown no insight, no sympathy for the victim, there has been no expression of remorse. He is in denial of the acts and of the verdict of the jury.”

The jury took more than four hours of deliberation to return majority verdicts of guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to 15 separate counts — eight for defilement and seven for sexual assault in the latter half of 2011.

The verdicts were delivered after the jury was told that majority verdicts of 10-2 or 11-1 would be acceptable if they could not reach unanimous verdicts.

On the eight defilement charges, there were two 11-1 and six 10-2 guilty verdicts. On the seven sexual assault charges, there were two 11-1 verdicts and five of 10-2.

The man cannot be identified in order to protect the identity of the complainant.

She is now 18 and told the jury during the four-day trial that her uncle had a sexual relationship with her for several months when she was aged 12. She said there was sexual intercourse every second day, if not every day, during that period of time.

Elizabeth O’Connell, defending, asked why she did not state the full extent of the alleged sexual intercourse when she first made a complaint.

“Why? Because I was in love,” she replied. “I did not want this man going to jail. But now that I am grown up I know it was wrong.”

The man did not give evidence from the witness box but the jury heard of the denials he made when questioned by gardaí about the allegations. His lawyer made submissions on his behalf.

Ms O’Connell said that, not alone did he not do it, but he could not have done so as he suffered from erectile dysfunction. His wife testified that he had been able to have sex with her in the months before the alleged incidents complained of by his niece.

The judge referred to the alleged erectile dysfunction and a surgeon’s report on the matter.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said yesterday that he attached more weight to the evidence of the defendant’s wife on this complaint than to the evidence of the surgeon.


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