10 Aug 2022

South East man to be sentenced later this month for sexual abuse of half-sister

Man to be sentenced later this month for sexual abuse of half-sister

A man who blindfolded his younger half-sister when they were both children and sexually abused her has been remanded on bail pending sentence later this month.

The 29-year-old Wexford man, who can't be named to protect his victim's identity, pleaded guilty to two charges of orally raping his half-sister at their father's home on dates between September 2006 and September 2008.

A local garda detective told the court that the man, who was nine years older than his half-sister, sexually abused her by putting his penis into her mouth during a game in which he persuaded her to wear a blindfold and put different objects in her mouth.

She was aged between six and seven at the time and he was aged between 15 and 16.

On another occasion, he didn't blindfold her but told her to close her eyes before sexually abusing her, the court heard.

The offences came to light when the woman, now aged 20, went to gardaí in 2018. When arrested, the man made full admissions to gardaí, the court heard.

Mr Justice Michael White had previously adjourned the case to allow for the preparation of reports. He addressed the complainant today and said he had to adjourn the case a further time to allow him time to consider the sentence he would be impose.

He stated that as the man was a child at the time of the offence but is now being sentenced as an adult, certain case law and sentencing guidelines need to be considered.

“This court has regularly had to deal with offences where an accused has pleaded guilty at a substantial distance from the time in which the offences were committed,” Mr Justice White said before he acknowledged that the complainant has suffered at the hands of her half-brother. 

He remanded the man on continuing bail and adjourned the case to January 28, next. 

In a victim impact statement which she read out in court at the previous sentence hearing, the woman said: “When I remember what my brother did to me I feel worthless. The thought that my own blood could abuse me as a child, makes me think...surely I'm better off dead and buried.”

The woman said she has struggled throughout her life with not wanting to leave her home, go to town in the fear she might see her half-brother, or go to school with teenage boys who were the same age as her abuser.

“I frequently have nightmares about him and what he did,” she said. “He is never far away from my mind.”

Gerard Clarke SC, prosecuting, told the court there were a number of errors in the probation report before the court. The report said the man told probation officers that the abuse occurred on just one occasion and that he was only aged 12 at the time.

The man told gardaí that he knew what he was doing was wrong, the court heard. He said he had watched a video and been excited by it. He said his little sister didn't tell him to stop, but he knew she didn't like it.

The court heard the woman also alleged another close relative had sexually abused her. This person denied the allegations and no charges have been brought.

Today Paul Murray SC, defending, said his client has pleaded guilty to the offence but still maintains he was younger than the charges reflect.

“He is convinced that he was 11 or 12 years old at the time, but challenging that would have meant that he would have had to cross-examine her (the victim) and he was insistent that this would not happen,” Mr Murray said.

He asked the court to take into account various reports before the court which demonstrates his client’s remorse, the fact that he has addiction issues and the possibility that he has cognitive functioning issues. 

Mr Murray said his client has written a letter of apology to his half-sister and she has received it but she doesn’t accept it.

He asked for the case to be adjourned again to allow for a further assessment of his client’s cognitive functioning but Mr Justice White said a further assessment was not necessary.

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