The Court of Criminal Appeal has reserved judgement in the State’s appeal against the undue leniency of an eight-year sentence handed down to a Dublin man who viciously raped and threatened to kill a woman he dragged from a busy public road.
Gary Kinsella (aged 29) was sentenced to eight years with one year suspended by Mr Justice George Birmingham at the Central Criminal Court in April last year, having pleaded guilty to raping, assaulting and threatening to kill the then 37-year-old woman on August 8, 2008.
Kinsella, of Allenton Avenue, Tallaght, changed his plea to guilty on the second day of his trial after initially denying the offences.
The court heard that Kinsella stalked his victim as she walked home from the gym, beating her about the face and threatening to kill her as he dragged her from a busy street on to the grounds of a presbytery where he raped her.
Gardaí called to the scene arrested Kinsella after finding him with his fly open near the naked and hysterical victim.
Counsel for the State, Ms Pauline Walley SC, told the court that the sentencing judge failed to have sufficient regard to the fact that the offence was an “extraordinary” and audacious “predatory” attack on a woman of slight build who was “plucked” from a public road in broad daylight.
Ms Walley said that Mr Justice Birmingham failed to attach sufficient weight to the element of premeditation in the attack, which warranted a higher sentence.
She said the victim impact evidence was compelling and demonstrated that her life had been profoundly altered by the attack and that her employment and relationships with men and her own family had suffered.
Ms Walley told the court that Mr Justice Birmingham failed to critically assess an apology offered by Kinsella as “self-serving” and reminded the court that he had proffered a plea of guilty only after the victim had given evidence.
Mr Padraig Dwyer SC, for the respondent, said that Mr Justice Birmingham had carefully structured the sentence and had considered the aggravating factors in the case.
He said that the State had failed to demonstrate that the sentence represented a substantial departure from sentencing norm in other similar cases.
Presiding judge Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell, sitting with Mr Justice Michael Moriarty and Mr Justice Michael White, said the court would return judgement at a later date.