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Kildare man jailed for sexually abusing his half-sister for years

The judge sentenced the man to five years in prison
The judge sentenced the man to five years in prison

A Kildare man who sexually abused his half-sister has been jailed for five years.

The man only admitted his offending after the now 19-year-old woman gave evidence against him in his trial at the Central Criminal Court. She had become “very distressed” during the trial and is very angry at the man for making her get into the witness box.

The 28-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, pleaded guilty to three counts of sexually assaulting his half-sister between November 2008 and December 2010 at a number of locations in Co Kildare.

He entered the guilty pleas on the third day of his trial last month after hearing his half-sister's evidence. A further 23 counts of sexual assault were taken into consideration.

The girl was aged between 11 and 13 years old at the time and the man, her half-brother, was aged between 17 and 19 years old. The court heard they had a dysfunctional family background.

Sentencing the man yesterday, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty said it was a grave offence.

“Your half-sister was in a vulnerable situation and it was reprehensible that you focused your attention on her in the manner that you did,” the judge told him.

He noted the man had “thrown himself on the mercy of the court” after he heard his half-sister's evidence and realised how much his offending had affected her.

He handed down a five-year sentence and requested that the “full measures of medical and educational assistance” be given to him in custody.

“He is not someone without hope of salvage,” the judge said, noting he was still a young man.

A local garda told Orla Crowe SC, prosecuting, that the victim came forward in July 2014 and made a complaint to gardaí that she had been sexually abused by her half-brother.

The court heard the abuse consisted of the man touching the child's private parts, breasts and putting his finger inside her vagina.

The man was arrested in October 2014 and made admissions. He told gardaí that whatever his sister said was true. The case came forward for trial in June 2017.

He has a number of minor previous convictions including theft and public order offences.

In her victim impact statement, the now 19-year-old woman, said she was very angry at her half-brother for what he did and that he had never said he was sorry.

She said getting into the witness box was one of the hardest thing she ever had to do and she was angry at him for making her go through that.

She said the abuse had affected her whole life. She found it hard to make friends or trust people and did not go out much. She suffers with anxiety and depression.

She said she thinks about the abuse all the time and it will never go away.

"I am so angry he did not apologise for what he did," she told the court.

Defence barrister Ciaran O'Loughlin SC said his client entered the guilty pleas after hearing his half-sister's evidence to save her from being cross-examined by the defence.

He came from a dysfunctional and “very tragic background”. The court heard the man and some of his siblings spent much of their childhood in foster care.

In a statement handed up to court, the man described how he was placed in foster care at a very young age after his mother left him and his siblings in a room while she went out drinking.

He said he had “good times and bad times” growing up with a foster family but he was eventually kicked out after a number of arguments.

He described returning to his mother's home sporadically, but said he was homeless for some time from the age of 16. He started using heroin, before meeting his partner and having children with her.

By Fiona Ferguson and Isabel Hayes