DPP to appeal suspended sentence given to man who raped his sleeping girlfriend

Magnus Hustveit
Magnus Hustveit

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is set to appeal a sentence handed down to a man who repeatedly raped his girlfriend as she slept.

25-year-old Magnus Meyer Hustveit returned to his native Norway after he was handed a fully suspended sentence in July of this year.

The full extent of his perverse actions only emerged after Hustveit wrote to his ex-girlfriend and told her he had been using her “body for my gratification” for nearly a year.

His victim, Niamh Nic Dhomhnaill, a former secondary school teacher from Dublin, said this suspended sentence sent out "the wrong message" to victims of rape and sexual violence.

The court heard she had been raped and sexually assaulted in her sleep by Hustveit.

The 28-year-old said the sentence would discourage anybody "who would even half consider going to the gardaí or through the courts" on the issue of sex abuse.

"There was no justice done today for me - but it is not just me. There was no justice for others too whether they are male, female, LGBT, or any other type of victim of sexual violence.

"I waived my right to anonymity because I wanted to raise awareness.”

The DPP is set to argue that the sentence was “unduly lenient” in February of next year.

The Norwegian man, previously of Leo Street, North Circular Road, Dublin, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault of a 28-year-old Irish woman at a place in Dublin between 2011 and 2012.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said it was a very exceptional case. He said he had to consider the fact that there would be no rational case but for the confessions of the accused.

“In truth this case comes here today out of his own mouth,” he said before suspending the sentence.

The judge said in over three decades on the bench he had never come across a case like this.

He said in his view the most significant features of the case were the deceit, the repetition of the offences and the effect on the victim. He said the final significant feature in his view was the fact that “these would not have been prosecuted without the admission of the accused”.

A solicitor for the Director of Public Prosecutions told the court that the victim wished to waive her right to anonymity to allow Hustveit to be named.

The woman said that it took her two years to fully comprehend the magnitude of Hustveit's crimes. She said: “I’m left grappling with the knowledge that someone I trusted violated that trust regularly.

“I’ve lost everything you can claim to have or be. Above all, I’ve lost my sense of identity and self worth.”

Sergeant Patrick Keegan told Mary Rose Gearty SC, prosecuting, that the victim first met Hustveit in a bar in Dublin city centre in 2011. They began a relationship. They moved in together in December 2011, but she had problems with his masturbation and use of pornography.

His crimes first came to light in 2012 when the woman woke up to find herself wet with what she believed to be semen.

She confronted Hustveit who admitted he had had sex with her while she slept. She told him that it was a problem but the relationship continued.

A few weeks later she woke with the feeling that she had been penetrated to find him masturbating and watching porn on his laptop beside her in bed.

Hustveit later admitted that he had regularly raped and sexually assaulted her in her sleep, often while she was under the influence of medication. The relationship ended.

In a subsequent email exchange between the victim and Hustveit in which she asked him to explain his actions, he made detailed admissions including raping her up to ten times and touching her in her sleep up to three times per week throughout their relationship. These emails became the basis of a garda investigation in June 2012 and his computer was seized.

In the email he admitted that he had raped her, saying “I guess it must be under ten times”.

He also explained his behaviour, saying “it is really difficult. I did it for short term gratification. I convinced myself it was a victimless crime because you were asleep”.

He continued: “I didn't want to hurt you, I just wanted to come. I used the fact I wasn't allowed watch porn or masturbate as an excuse.

“Now I've written this, you can have me prosecuted. I hope you won't”.

Reading her victim impact statement to the court, the woman said her life had been destroyed by the abuse. She had attempted suicide and she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and anxiety.

She said Hustveit had “violated me in the sanctity of sleep and rest”, and that she was at first “fooled that it was not really rape because it didn't fit with how rape is often understood”.

Caroline Biggs SC, defending, said that Hustveit and members of his family travelled to Ireland six times at great expense to co-operate with the Garda investigation. She said that psychological reports indicated he was at low risk of reoffending and feels genuine guilt and remorse.

She asked Mr Justice McCarthy to take into account his guilty plea and his admissions both in the email and to gardaí, without which the case would have been “all but impossible” to prosecute, she said.

The judge said that a very favourable reference from his current employer in Oslo had to be given some weight.

His current partner, who he met in Oslo three years ago, told the court that Hustveit was a good carer for her two children.

Sleep rapist Magnus Meyer Hustveit and his new partner