28 May 2022

Serial burglar on-the-run when he sexually assaulted woman loses sentence appeal

Serial burglar on-the-run when he sexually assaulted woman loses sentence appeal

A serial burglar who was on-the-run when he sexually assaulted a woman he met in a pub has lost an appeal against his four year sentence.

Paddy Harty (45) of Lahinch Road, Ennis, Co Clare, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to sexually assaulting the woman (53) at a secluded part of The Curragh, Co Kildare on April, 23, 2015.

He was sentenced to four years imprisonment, made consecutive to another four year sentence Harty had received two months earlier for theft and fraud offences, by Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy on January 29, 2018. 

He lost an appeal against the severity of his sentence on Monday with the Court of Appeal deeming the total sentence “appropriate”. 

Giving judgment, president of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said Harty had met the woman in a bar in a Kildare town. They had drinks together and moved to other pubs.

At some stage, it was accepted they kissed. Harty drove her to a secluded area known locally as ‘Braveheart Hill’, where he removed her bottom clothing and forcibly held her by the arms. 

She fled from the vehicle, hid in a thorny bush area and called the gardaí, indicating that she was in a distressed state. 

Harty was identified from CCTV footage and initially denied having met the woman. 

Mr Justice Birmingham said Harty was married with five children and the eldest of 12 siblings. He had 168 previous convictions, including 42 thefts, three burglaries and 12 for breaches of domestic violence legislation. 

At the time of the present offence, he said Harty was “unlawfully at large” as he had been released from an earlier prison sentence into the care of the Coolmine residential treatment programme but failed to show up. 

He said the court could not disagree with the selection of seven years as the headline sentence, before discount was applied for mitigating factors, given the seriousness of the offence. 

In relation to the decision to make his sentence consecutive to the term already being served, Mr Justice Birmingham said the sentencing judge went on to consider the total figure and her “actions were appropriate”. 

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Ms Justice Marie Baker, said the sentence imposed fell within the available range and no error had been disclosed. The appeal was therefore dismissed. 

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