Rape sentence more than doubled for Tipperary resident
A former farm labourer has had his jail term for brutally raping a six-year-old girl 40 years ago more than doubled by the Court of Appeal.
Dan Flynn, a County Tipperary resident, was 36-years-old when he grabbed the six-year-old girl and threw her onto his bed, telling her: “I have got you now.”
He raped the child, forced his penis into her mouth, spat into her face and stepped over her as she lay on the ground. “As if I was nothing,” the victim said.
Flynn, who lived with his late mother at the time, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to raping the child at his home on a date in 1979. His guilty plea was entered at the “11th hour” on the Friday before his trial was due to begin.
He now suffers from Parkinson's Disease and requires a mobility aid, which Mr Justice Michael White considered when he sentenced him to six years imprisonment with the final four suspended on May 13, 2019.
The woman, now a married mother of children, told the Central Criminal Court that Flynn was a “cruel, bad tempered man” whom she was afraid of as a child. “It makes me very angry that it was covered up and nothing was done,” she told the court.
“There was nothing wrong with Dan Flynn when he sexually assaulted me all those years ago,” she said.
Flynn’s sentence was found to be “unduly lenient” by the Court of Appeal following an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said the three-judge court was resentencing Flynn to five years imprisonment. A considered judgment with reasons for the court’s decision would be delivered at a later date but it was “fair to all concerned” to indicate the court’s conclusion on Monday, the judge said.
Counsel for the DPP, Michael Bowman SC, said two years in jail did not “come close to reflecting the gravity” of the offence. He said the rape involved a troubling level of brutality and degradation, and the “ripple effects” had been felt in every personal aspect of the victim’s life 40 years after the event.
Mr Bowman submitted that the sentencing judge afforded too much weight to Flynn’s medical issues, which were “pithily” explained by a list of the medication he had been prescribed together with a four-line statement of fact that he had Parkinson’s.
The 76-year-old appeared before the court confined to a wheelchair, and was accompanied to court from prison by carers.
Citing the victim impact report, Mr Bowman said Flynn had no physical difficulty and knew right from wrong when he raped the six-year-old girl as a 36-year-old man. He added that too much credit was given for Flynn’s guilty plea, which was entered at the “11th hour” on the Friday before his trial was due to begin.
Outlining the court’s decision, Mr Justice Birmingham said the sentencing court ought to have set the headline sentence at 12 years, and there was scope for reducing that to nine years having regard to Flynn’s guilty plea and other mitigating factors.
A further reduction would have been appropriate on account of Flynn’s age and medical situation.
Mr Justice Birmingham said Flynn’s new five-year sentence incorporated the disappointment of having a sentence increased, as is usual in DPP appeals.