Man jailed for “serial sodomisation” of child has moved to appeal 18-year sentence

Man jailed for “serial sodomisation” of child has moved to appeal 18-year sentence

A Clare man jailed for the “serial sodomisation” of a six-year-old child over three years has moved to appeal his 18 year prison sentence.

The twenty-six year old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one sample count each of section 4 rape and sexual assault of the girl between 2009 and 2012 in County Clare.

He was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment with the final five suspended by Mr Justice Tony Hunt on July 20, 2015.

Opening an appeal against sentence today, the man's barrister, Michael Bowman SC, referenced a case – known in the media as the Roscommon 'house of horrors' case - in which a father had sexually abused his son over a protracted period of time.

Mr Bowman said his client had pleaded guilty, which was an acknowledgment of wrongdoing and may be indicative of remorse.

However, in the case he referenced – the Roscommon 'house of horrors' case - the perpetrator had gotten a 14 year headline sentence for the section 4 rape of his son following an 11 day trial.

The facts were similar and following a sentence appeal, he was left with an 11 year jail term, Mr Bowman submitted.

Citing the Court of Appeal's judgment in that case, Mr Bowman said the appropriate net sentence for a case of its kind was found to be somewhere in the region of 10 to 12 years and that appeared to be the position “when considering the research papers”.

Mr Bowman said a headline figure of 18 years for broadly similar offending behaviour, in which a guilty plea was entered, was considerably “out of kilter”.

A degree of consistency ought to be brought to bear on sentencing for the sake of complainants, counsel submitted, as it would allow defendants take a view on what plea to enter.

He said no “gratuitous violence” was involved in the offence at which point Mr Justice John Edwards remarked tersely that there had been “serial sodomisation of a six to nine-year-old girl over three years”.

Mr Bowman said he was referring to other cases in which “gratuitous violence” featured. He added that his client's offending behaviour involved a single individual victim in contrast to other cases.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Anthony Sammon SC, said the sentencing judge placed the case in the highest category and the offending had a profound and continuing affect on the young girl.

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