THU, 19 NOV, 2020 – 21:01LIAM HEYLIN
A young woman wept as her husband was jailed for a year arising out of an investigation that followed her giving birth to their first child when she was aged 13 and their second child the following year.
Since then they married when she turned 18 and had a third child together.
“Her view is that she never viewed herself as a victim and was not going to help the investigation but he made admissions himself,” defence barrister Ray Boland said.
Sergeant James Buckley said a social worker reported the case when she became aware of the second baby in 2015.
“She was 12 or 13 when the first baby was conceived and 13 or 14 the second baby was conceived,” Sgt Buckley said.
Her husband is now 25 and she is 20 and they are living together with their three children. The young mother was taken into care for a period when she was a teenager when these matters came to light and her own parents reared the infants.
She made no complaint against her husband but the prosecution had DNA tests carried out to prove his parentage of the two babies.
He pleaded guilty to defilement of a child under 15 by having sexual intercourse with her, one charge related to 2013 and another related to 2014. Each charge carried a possible penalty of life imprisonment.
Mr Boland BL suggested that the young woman would suffer if her husband was imprisoned.
Both parties were born in Ireland but their own parents are non-nationals. They cannot be identified.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “I am going to have to take an objective view. This man was five years older than the complainant. He had a sexual relation with a 12 or 13-year-old.
The age difference is not entirely significant. Her age is profoundly significant.
“The court has to take a serious view. It is not socially acceptable, it is not legally acceptable, it cannot be countenanced.
“The behaviour is too wrong. It cannot be countenanced by a court institutions. I accept it would be a very difficult case to prove and the plea is a very significant matter.
“Their circumstances now are completely different — they are of age now, they can marry or not marry and society would not get involved but in view of the age which was spectacularly low (at time of offences) I will measure a sentence at 12 months,” Judge Ó Donnabháin said.
Mr Boland had said in his submission to the court: “I know it is a very unusual case but I don’t think that any specific or general deterrent be effected. It would have an adverse effect on the person who is the victim in the case.”
The case was dealt with yesterday at an in camera hearing of Cork Circuit Criminal Court.