Man jailed for neglect of children loses appeal for raping one of them

The 46-year-old man had pleaded not guilty to one charge of rape against the girl
The 46-year-old man had pleaded not guilty to one charge of rape against the girl

A man jailed for neglecting his children has failed to appeal his conviction for raping one of them, an offence for which he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The 46-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty to one charge of rape against the girl on a date in September 2007.

He was found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by Mr Justice Paul Carney on July 11 2011. He had been cleared of indecent assault to which he had also pleaded not guilty.

Speaking on behalf of the Court of Appeal today, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the court had decided to dismiss the man's appeal and would give its reasons for so doing in a written judgment later this month.

The man had appealed his conviction on grounds that the trial judge erred in refusing to direct the jury to acquit and consequently the jury's verdict was perverse.

His barrister, Blaise O'Carroll SC, said the victim's evidence was “so extraordinary, so bizzarre, so contradictory, so incredible” that taken as a whole it could not constitute evidence.

To even allow some of the victim's evidence, Mr O'Carroll said, “brings the system into question”. He said the essence of the criminal justice system was to “prevent this happening and it has happened”.

The more one looks at the evidence the more one is filled with “a sense of astonishment,” Mr O'Carrol said, it went into “the realm of fantasy”.

He said the court had a duty to intervene to ensure the constitutional principles of fair trial.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Dominic McGinn SC, said the man was seeking to appeal against the jury's verdict by saying the judge had gotten it wrong.

Mr McGinn said a jury was in the best position to assess credibility and reliability and there was nothing tangible for the defence to point to and say the judge had gotten it wrong.

He said the complainant was thoroughly cross examined and all the points raised now by the man in his appeal had been put to the complainant in the trial. Furthermore, the judge had summarised all of the evidence for the jury including the inconsistencies.

In those circumstances, Mr McGinn said, the Court of Appeal should be “very, very slow to interfere” in the conviction.

Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would reserve judgment until a date in March.

Ruaidhrí Giblin