10 Aug 2022

Tipperary man given 17 years for “abhorrent and evil” abuse of his children must wait to hear appeal outcome

Tipperary man given 17 years for “abhorrent and evil” abuse of his children must wait to hear appeal outcome

Central Criminal Court

A Tipperary man who sexually abused and raped his three daughters in their Dublin family home over an 18 year period must wait to hear the outcome of an appeal against his conviction. 

The 54-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 44 charges of sexually abusing his daughters, 37 counts of raping his eldest daughter, one charge each of anal rape of this girl and oral rape of her younger sister, and one charge of issuing a threat to kill his youngest daughters on dates between October 1994 and July 2012.

He was found guilty on 75 charges following a trial and was jailed for 17 years by Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan on May 18, 2015. 

Ms Justice Heneghan described the man’s offences as “an exploitation of weak and defenceless children” and said his behaviour was “abhorrent and evil” in this “campaign of rape and sexual abuse” in which he “abused his power in the house”. 

She said the man showed no remorse and she praised the victims as “persons of very great courage and determination”.

During the trial the eldest of the sisters told the jury she was first sexually abused by the man when she was nine years old before he started to rape her when she was 11 years old. She said she was anally raped once as a 14-year-old when she came home during her lunch break from school.

She said the abuse came to an end after she managed to escape to England with her boyfriend as a 17-year-old.

She had earlier that day enlisted the help of her younger sisters to help her commit suicide but after contacting her boyfriend by text to say goodbye he convinced her to meet up and refused to allow her to return to the house. She never returned to Ireland.

The man moved to appeal his conviction on a number of grounds in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday where judgment was reserved. 

His barrister, Dominic McGinn SC, submitted that the jury were asked to consider evidence which showed some of the alleged offences were committed outside the periods of time specified on the indictment. 

Some of the complainants’ evidence referred to abuse commencing in the spring time, or winter time, the court heard.

Mr McGinn submitted that the prosecution ought to have applied to amend the indictment after evidence was given by the complainants which “did not fit” the timeframe. 

He further submitted that his cross examination of one of the complainants was curtailed by the trial judge. 

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Roisín Lacey SC, said the cross examination of one of the complainant’s was properly curtailed after it was put to her that she had stormed out of court in a previous trial and “made a holy show” of herself. 

Ms Lacey said the judge was entitled to intervene and that the observations of a judge in a previous trial were not relevant. 

She said age was the determinative factor in the framing of the indictment, and the reference to spring time was couched in “vague” terms, which did not make the verdict unreliable or unsafe. 

There were ample allegations of wrongdoing for the man’s conviction to stand, Ms Lacey submitted. 

President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said the court would reserve its judgment.  

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