Sex abuse sentence appeal dismissed

A 39-year-old Cork man jailed for the regular abuse of his younger sister, from when he was aged 14 until 20, has had an appeal against the severity of his sentence dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

The man was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury of 23 counts of sexually abusing his sister at homes the family lived in between 1991 and 1997. He initially faced trial on a 43 count indictment but was acquitted of the remaining counts.

Mr Justice Paul Carney sentenced him to five years imprisonment, with the final year suspended, on October 29, 2014. He had an appeal against sentence dismissed yesterday, with the Court of Appeal unable to find any error in principle in his sentence. Giving judgment, Mr Justice John Edwards

said the man had literacy and numeracy issues at school, where a counsellor described him as “having special needs”. He left school without any educational achievements, gained employment, and worked continously until he was jailed.

It was clear the sentencing judge approached the process “in the correct way”, Mr Justice Edwards said, and the Court of Appeal could not interfere if a sentence was within range of a judge’s discretion. He said the Court of Appeal rejected a complaint the sentence was too high because the man was a minor when the majority of the offences were committed. There was no psychological evidence to suggest he did not appreciate the inappropriateness of what he was doing, the judge said.

At sentencing he expressed remorse and a letter of apology was read out. Tom Creed, for the DPP, submitted there had been no guilty plea and the remorse was “questionable”.

However, the sentencing judge had expressly taken remorse into account, Mr Justice Edwards said, and gave an effective discount of 20% when he suspended the final year of the man’s sentence.

He said the Court of Appeal found no error on the mitigation side and would dismiss the appeal.


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