A rapist released from prison last January has been jailed for 18 months for breaching the conditions on a suspended sentence.
On the night of August 9, 2013 the man, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of the victim, broke into his ex-partner's home and repeatedly raped her during a five-hour ordeal.
Armed with a hatchet, the Cork man forced his way into her home and threatened to kill her by driving them both into the sea. He also cut her off her hair with a scissors because she wasn’t performing sexual acts to his liking.
The 58-year-old had initially denied the attack but later pleaded guilty to rape at the woman’s Cork home in the early hours of August 9, 2013. He has no previous convictions.
Last January the man was released from prison having served the non-suspended segment of his initial sentence, despite having triggered a potential revocation of his suspended sentence by failing to comply with the conditions of his prison term as mandated by the courts.
Today at the Central Criminal Court the man’s three-year suspended sentence was revoked in part by Justice Paul McDermott.
“The conditions of his suspension were focused upon his behaviour in prison, and he has been deemed to be in breach of the conditions proposed concerning an adequate level of participation in the programme,” the judge said.
As part of his sentence the offender was tasked with engaging with the “Better Lives” sex offender treatment programme while in custody. While the man attended initial sessions of that programme, his assessors contended that he needed to gain insight into his offence and the suffering of his victim.
He claimed that he couldn’t remember the incident for which he had been jailed, and had expressed a deal of annoyance with his victim’s version of events, which he said were embellished to ensure his conviction, the judge said.
His assessors had the man had expressed ambivalence towards his crime, and had displayed an inability to talk about his offence.
He had become “increasingly entrenched” in his approach, and in his lack of insight regarding the sexually harmful nature of his offending, his assessment report said.
His assessment team decided in March of 2018 that the requisite level of participation in the “Better Lives” programme had not been achieved.
Judge McDermott, in considering the matter, declared himself satisfied that the man had breached the terms of his suspended sentence.
He said it was a “fundamental prerequisite” of those terms that the man “not deliberately fail to acknowledge the facts of what he has done to the victim”.
The judge acknowledged that the man had been living in the community since his release earlier this year without coming to adverse attention, and that the court’s response to his sentence therefore “has to be proportionate”.
“He demonstrated a very high degree of violence,” the judge said.
It is appropriate that I should revoke the suspended elements of his sentence, but not in their entirety.
Judge McDermott ruled that the man must now serve a substitute sentence of 18 months, with the final 18 months suspended on the offender’s own bond to keep the peace.
He lamented the performance of the authorities who had “not brought this case back before me before his sentence had expired”.
In October 2013, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan imposed a ten-year sentence but suspended the last three years on condition that the man be of good behaviour for the ten years.
He also set a condition that the man engage with the “Better Lives” sex offender treatment programme while in custody.
The DPP made an application at the Central Criminal Court for the suspension to be revoked on the basis that he had not participated fully in the programme.
A revocation by the court would have seen him serving out the remaining three years in custody.
Joseph McCarthy, a senior probation officer at Arbour Hill prison, told the court it was the view of the clinical team dealing with the offender that the conditions attached to the suspension were not met.
He said the man was in significant denial about substantial elements of his offending.
“He has profound difficulty acknowledging the sexual harmful behaviour in his offending,” the witness told Mr Justice Paul McDermott.
He added that the man initially engaged with the programme until it moved to a second level involving group work. He said the man has not progressed sufficiently with offence disclosure work.
Mr Justice McDermott asked if was part of the State's case that the man posed a public safety threat. Dara Hayes BL, for the DPP, said this was not the case.
Counsel told the court that a report from the psychologist who engaged with the man as part of the treatment programme would take more time to produce. The judge said he needed this report and needed to know the reasons for the limited engagement.
He said he didn't think this was a case of wilful refusal to engage and said he suspected there was an inability to engage with the next level of the treatment.
He noted that had been a degree of participation by the man and he had “cleared the first hurdle” in the programme but that a problem arose at the next stage.
Blaise O'Carroll SC, defending, told the court the man had somewhere to go in Cork and would stay with his brother.
Justice McDermott said he would let the sentence stand and rule on the alleged breach at a future hearing. He adjourned it to March to allow time for the psychologist's report.