The 32-year-old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to raping the nine- and six-year-old girls in a flat in Athlone on September 28, 2013.
He was given two life sentences by Mr Justice Paul Carney on March 3, 2014.
The man moved to appeal his sentence yesterday on grounds that it was excessive in all the circumstances.
His barrister, Sean Gillane SC, acknowledged there were certain “nightmarish aspects” about this case.
Mr Gillane said that certain aspects of the man’s assistance should have merited a different approach by the trial judge.
On foot of advice from his solicitor, he made full admissions and indicated how the case would be approached before he left the Garda station, Mr Gillane said. It was indicated that there would be no requests for medical notes or disclosure and no requests for disclosure of the tapes of interview of the two victims “which, in my experience, was unique”, said Mr Gillane.
Subsequently, Mr Gillane referred to two cases known as D and McC.
In D, there were four daughters, 153 counts on the indictment and a 20-year period of abuse, while ‘McC’ involved six children and an 11-year period of abuse.
Mr Gillane said the Supreme Court upheld life sentences in those cases having regard to four aspects: Systemic abuse; duration; gravity of the offending; and relationship between the perpetrator and the accused.
If unmandatory life sentences became the norm, Mr Gillane said, an offender might feel the value of their plea would vanish when it comes to sentencing.
Were the Court of Appeal to uphold this man’s life sentence, it would be a new development in that landscape, he said.
Counsel for the DPP, Patrick McGrath SC, said that the man was submitting that because his crimes involved a single set of transactions, it somehow put the offence in a different category.
There were no authorities to support the proposition that there had to be a series or a long-running campaign of abuse for a court to conclude that a life sentence was justified, Mr McGrath said.
He said the net point was whether an offence or collection of offences carried out in one afternoon was capable of justifying a life sentence: “The answer must be yes.”
The three-judge court reserved judgment.