Dublin man sexually assaulted child sister several times in family home

Dublin man sexually assaulted child sister several times in family home

A Dublin man jailed for the continued sexual abuse of his seven-year-old sister more than 30 years ago must wait to hear the outcome of his appeal against conviction.

The 53-year-old man, who cannot be named because of a ruling by Judge Martin Nolan, had pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of indecent assault at the family home on dates between March 1, 1983 and March 1, 1987 when the victim was aged between seven and 11 years old.

He was found guilty by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court and was sentenced to nine years imprisonment by Judge Martin Nolan on January 12, 2015.

The man moved to appeal his conviction today on a number of grounds.

His barrister, Tara Burns SC, submitted to the Court of Appeal that a corroboration warning should have been given by the trial judge to the jury in respect of the victim's evidence.

Ms Burns said the trial judge's refusal to give a corroboration warning was based on his "policy" of not giving corroboration warnings in sexual cases.

Basing one's judgment on a "general practice" was prohibited, she said, and ought to have been based on the evidence he heard in the case.

Ms Burns said there were discrepancies in the victim's evidence.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Roisín Lacey BL, said the trial judge's practice of not giving warnings was entirely in accordance with the pronouncements of the courts.

She said the trial judge was simply iterating the approach he takes and there was no evidential basis in this case for the giving of such a warning.

It was conceded, Ms Lacy said, that there was no corroboration and that there were discrepencies in the evidence but those were quintessential matters for the jury.

Reserving judgment, Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would deliver its decision as soon as it could.

Ruaidhrí Giblin