Man who abused boy he later had sex with as an adult has appeal dismissed
A man jailed for the sexual abuse of a boy, with whom he subsequently had a consensual sexual act in adulthood, has lost an appeal against conviction.
The 41-year-old man, who cannot be identified to protect the victim's identity, had pleaded not guilty to 25 counts of sexual assault, one count of attempted buggery and a single count of buggery in the midlands on dates between February 1991 and February 1999.
He was found guilty by a jury and jailed for eight years by Judge Terence O'Sullivan on May 8, 2014.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the man's appeal against conviction yesterday on all grounds.
Giving judgment, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said there were “a number of unusual features in this case” compared to many cases involving sexual assault.
The alleged victims were twin brothers and the offences occurred in or around their family home where the man had been employed as a labourer beginning when 'brother A' was aged seven. Guilty verdicts were returned in respect of one brother only.
The sexual activity did not involve threats or violence and further consensual activity took place when 'brother A' reached adulthood, Mr Justice Mahon said.
Relevant complaints were made to the gardai 20 years after the alleged assaults had commenced and some seven years after the single incident of consensual activity in 2004, the judge said.
'Brother A' was unable to identify dates with any precision and the prosecution had put forward four charges in respect of each year - four in 1991, four in 1992, four in 1993 and four in the period until August, 1994.
The man's barrister, John O'Kelly SC, submitted that there was “at most” a general allegation that certain events happened while the victim “was between seven and 10 years of age” but that did not sufficiently establish that a particular event occurred, for example, between February and December 1991.
Mr Justice Mahon said allegations of historical sexual assault involving children were “by their very nature” imprecise as to dates or locations. The court was satisfied that sufficient particulars were provided to enable the jury to reach a verdict, he said.
The complainant's repeated references to "once or twice a month, maybe more, maybe less" sufficiently placed such offending within periods of between eight and 12 months, Mr Justice Mahon said.
In those circumstances the trial judge was “quite correct” to refuse to direct a verdict of not guilty.
In relation to the trial judge's delay warning, even if it had been insufficient, any such insufficiency was adequately readdressed later, Mr Justice Mahon said
Finally, he said a corroboration warning was not required and it may have been inappropriate to have given one.
Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice John Edwards, dismissed the appeal on all grounds.
The man is due to appeal against the severity of his sentence at a later date.