A man who sexually abused his brother, sister and nephew over an 18-year period has been given a six-month prison sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Judge Patricia Ryan said repeatedly that “the court has to stress” that it did not have the power to impose more than two years for the abuse because that was the maximum sentence in place at the time it occurred.
She said she also had to take the 64-year-old man's guilty plea into account and the fact that he was suffering from a chronic debilitating condition which would lead to additional hardship in prison. The man appeared in court on a mobility scooter.
The judge imposed seven-month suspended sentences for the abuse of the two siblings. She imposed a ten-month sentence for the abuse of the nephew and suspended the final four months. She also ordered the man be registered as a sex offender.
The accused man was 14 when he first abused his younger brother between the ages of eight and 13. He was 17 when he later abused his 13-year-old sister and finally as a 28 year old he abused his nephew while the child was aged between seven and 12 years old.
The man, who cannot be named to protect his victims’ identities, pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting his nephew, his sister and his brother at the family home on dates between 1966 and 1984.
Judge Ryan had previously adjourned sentencing to allow a probation report be prepared and to allow further medical reports detailing the man's treatment and medication be put before her.
A local garda told Grainne O'Neill BL, prosecuting, that the first victim, the accused's younger brother, remembered being in his bedroom on occasion when he asked him to “play” with his penis.
He also remembered the accused simulating sex on top of him and on one occasion putting his penis in his mouth.
He said there was no threat or aggression and he just went along with what the accused said.
The accused's sister remembered being in his bedroom listening to records when he asked her to put her hand on his penis. She remembered this happening about three times over the course of a year.
She also remembered a final incident that year where the accused man asked her to suck it.
The accused's nephew described three incidents of indecent assault in total. He described not really understanding what had happened during the first incident and being sent down stairs after he was “sworn to secrecy”.
This had occurred in the accused man's bedroom after they listened to a recording of “Je t'aime.”
He also remembered an incident where he had been woken by the accused who forced his penis into his mouth and ejaculated.
Impact statements completed by the three victims were handed into court to be read by the Judge.
The garda agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending, that there has been significant “collateral damage” for the accused since the offences came to light as his marriage broke down and he had been largely disowned by his family.
Ms Biggs said the accused had an excellent work record and no previous convictions.
Counsel said his medical condition now impacted on his daily life and living requirements.