Paedophile who abused nieces has jail time reduced on appeal
A paedophile, who began abusing his nieces when they were six or seven years old, has had his jail time reduced after the Court of Appeal backdated his sentence to when he went into custody.
The 48-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of his victims, was convicted in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in 2018 of 25 counts of sexual assault against the young sisters.
The court heard that he was their aunt’s partner and that one of the girls was sent to stay with them three or four times a week. He began abusing her on these overnight stays when she was about six and continued to do so until she was about 12. He also abused the other child when she stayed in his home.
Judge Martina Baxter imposed an eight-year sentence and suspended the final year.
The father-of-two lost an appeal against his conviction earlier this year, and today (Tuesday) appealed the severity of his sentence to the Court of Appeal.
His barrister, Paul Carroll SC, submitted a number of grounds of appeal, including that the sentencing judge had not given him credit for the amount of time he had spent in custody by the date of his sentence.
He said that, when the issue of backdating the sentence was raised, the judge replied that she was utilizing her discretion. However, Mr Carroll said that gave no explanation of why she was exercising this discretion.
Court President Justice George Birmingham, presiding with Justice Patrick McCarthy and Justice Isobel Kennedy, returned with an extempore judgment.
Justice Kennedy noted that the abuse had been prolonged. She said that what he had done was serious in nature and that ‘children are entitled to feel safe’ with their extended family.
However, she said that there must be good reason for not backdating a sentence to take account of time already spent in custody. The judge in this case had not explained her reasons.
The court, therefore, adjusted the sentence by backdating it to when he had gone into custody following his conviction five months before he was sentenced.