Judge refuses to accept character references for Sligo paedophile
July 18 2022 04:21 PM
- A judge has refused to accept character references submitted on behalf of a Sligo man who was found guilty of the rape, indecent and sexual assault of three children.
Mr Justice David Keane, sitting in the Central Criminal Court, said he would only allow character references if the people who had written them were present in court to take the stand to allow for cross-examination.
The man is aged in his late 60s and cannot be named to protect his victims. The offences occurred at various locations between 1983 and 1993 when he was aged in his 30s.
The victims, who were known to the accused, were aged between five and 13-years-old at the time.
The man’s lawyers asked Mr Justice Keane to receive three character references but the judge refused to accept them. He stated that he would only allow character references if the people who have written the letters were present in court to take the stand.
This would also allow for cross-examination of this referee’s testimony to take place, he said.
Detective Sergeant Gerard Mullaney told the court that the first victim was indecently assaulted and anally raped by the accused. The assaults began with touching of the chest and genital areas but progressed rape after the accused entered the room she was sleeping in.
The court heard the second victim was indecently assaulted in her home by the accused on occasions when he would spend the night in her home. The accused would come upstairs during the night and go into her room. He would rub her chest and genital area.
The offences developed into digital penetration. The accused would then leave her room, go to the bathroom and flush the toilet to give the impression he had gone upstairs to use the toilet.
Det Sgt Mullaney told the court that the third victim went to the accused’s home “for a message”. She was brought to a shed at the back of the house and the accused touched her genital area.
When the accused was interviewed by gardaí relating to the allegations that had been made, he denied them and said, “it was all lies” and “a load of crap”.
Two of the three victims read their victim impact statements in court. One described how the accused had “ruined her entire life” and that the she still has “flashbacks and nightmares”.
Another victim said she was “filled with fear from the age of seven onwards and became a scared and angry child”.
Roisin Lacey, SC, defending, told the court her client has no previous conviction and was not known to gardaí before these allegations were made.
She said her client was a hardworking man with many medical conditions. The accused does not accept the verdict of the jury.
A Probation Services report handed into court outlined that the accused was of low risk of reoffending.
Mr Justice Keane began by commending the three victims on their courage in making the complaints, and he hoped they could draw strength from the jury’s verdict.
He said that concerning the rape, the accused was a mature adult who was nearly 40, and the victim was a defenceless child.
Mr Justice Keane noted that mitigating factors were limited as no guilty pleas were available, and the accused did not accept the verdict and denied the incidents.
He said there had been no remorse shown by the accused. However, he would take the lack of previous convictions, his eventual cooperation with gardaí and that he is of a low risk of reoffending.
The accused was found guilty in February 2022 of one count of anal rape, 13 counts of indecent assault and three counts of sexual assault, which occurred in various locations between 1983 and 1993.
Mr Justice Keane sentenced him to 11 years in prison. In addition, he ordered the accused to remain under the supervision of the probation services for three years post-release and engage with all services outlined.