09 Aug 2022

Man jailed for raping wife twice on one night has conviction upheld on appeal

Waterford: Tipperary: Mayo: Man jailed for raping wife twice on one night has conviction upheld on appeal

Man jailed for raping wife twice on one night at County Mayo home has conviction upheld

A man jailed for raping his wife twice in one night has lost an appeal against his conviction. 

The 40-year-old man, whose details cannot be published to protect his wife's identity, was convicted following a Central Criminal Court trial on two counts of anally raping the woman at their County Mayo home on December 18, 2015. 

The man was found not guilty by the jury on four other counts of rape on earlier dates in 2015 and there was a direction of not guilty by the trial judge on a further count. He had no previous convictions.

The woman gave evidence during the trial that her husband had arrived home drunk on the night in question. She said she had been watching a film with her daughter, while her son was out socialising. 

The man went up to bed but later came downstairs demanding to have sex. She refused and he removed her clothing before raping her as she shouted for help. She said she “thought it was over” as her husband strangled her before he lifted her up by the hair.

She was raped a second time upstairs before she left the house with her children, afraid her husband would follow her. 

The man claimed all sex was consensual. 

In her victim impact statement, the woman said her feelings of self worth “fell below zero” and she had felt ashamed, helpless, humiliated and scared. She said she had kept blaming herself for what happened and had been plagued by nightmares but that she had to be strong for her children.

Sentencing him to nine years imprisonment, Mr Justice Michael White said the man had taken marriage vows to love and respect the woman whom he described as a “loving and loyal wife”.

The man lost an appeal against his conviction on Monday with the Court of Appeal unable to hold that his trial was unsatisfactory or that the verdict was unsafe. 

President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said the jury returned verdicts which seemed “well-justified” in the overall context of the case. 

In the Court of Appeal’s view, Mr Justice Birmingham said criticisms of the trial judge and of his instructions to the jury were “considerably overstated”, He said it was clear that the trial judge was “absolutely determined” to ensure the accused received a fair trial. 

The defence had asked the trial judge to give the jury a warning on the dangers of convicting in the absence of corroboration. Mr Justice Birmingham said it was understandable that the issue was raised with the trial judge, but in the court’s view, there was “quite an amount of evidence” capable of amounting to corroboration. 

He said the trial judge pointed out that there was evidence capable of providing corroboration in respect of the events for which he was convicted but that there was no corroboration in respect of the events for which he was acquitted. 

The man’s lawyers said their client received “no comfort” from the fact they jury were told there was no corroboration in respect of some of the counts on the indictment when their client was convicted on others. 

The court was conscious of the "force of that argument" but, overall, the court had not been persuaded that the trial was unsatisfactory or that the man’s conviction was unsafe, the judge said. 

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, accordingly dismissed the appeal.

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