Waterford man who raped his cousin appeals seven-year jail sentence
A Waterford man jailed for raping his younger cousin following a memorial service for his mother has had his seven year jail term upheld on appeal.
The 35-year-old, whose details cannot be published to protect the victim’s identity, had pleaded not guilty to one count of raping his female cousin at his Waterford home in the early hours of February 27, 2013.
He was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury and sentenced to eight years imprisonment with the final year suspended by Mr Justice Robert Eagar on April 18, 2016.
The man had an appeal against the severity of his sentence dismissed on Wednesday, June 27 with the Court of Appeal finding itself in agreement with the sentencing judge’s approach.
Giving judgment in the three-judge court, Mr Justice John Hedigan said the man and the victim, his cousin, had been attending a gathering in a pub in Waterford which was held to mark the first anniversary of the death of the man’s mother, who was also the victim’s aunt.
They had moved on to two other pubs in Waterford city before returning to the man’s house. They were both intoxicated.
The victim recalled waking up and feeling a pain in her vagina. She realised the man was on top of her having sexual intercourse with her. He was completely undressed. She told him to stop and to leave the room and he did so. She was undressed from the waist down.
She called three people all of whom described her as sounding distressed on the phone.
The man is a separated father-of-one who has maintained a close relationship with his child. He had seven previous convictions including one for theft and another for sale and supply of drugs (Section 15A).
Mr Justice Hedigan said the sentencing judge was “not very impressed” when it came to the mitigating factors. He noted that the documentary testimonials submitted on the man’s behalf did not seem to be aware that he had been convicted or “anything else about the case.”
The sentencing judge noted that the man had initially told gardai that the victim had awoken. This “contradicted his assertion that his victim was engaged in some consensual act.”
Mt Justice Hedigan, who sat with Mr Justice Michael Peart and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the Court of Appeal could find no error in principle. He said the sentencing judge took into account the “very limited mitigation” that was available and balanced it with the aggravating factors which he clearly considered were substantial.
He identified a headline sentence of eight years and gave as much off that as could be allowed in all the circumstances. “We agree with the sentence at which he finally arrived,” and the appeal was therefore dismissed.
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