evidence issue  | 

Father who raped special needs daughter launches appeal against conviction

The man was jailed for 11 years after he twice raped his 22-year-old daughter in her bedroom

Criminal Courts of Justice Dublin

 Peter Doyle 

The jury who found a father guilty of raping his special needs daughter in the family home were not properly warned about the dangers of using uncorroborated evidence to convict a defendant, the Court of Appeal was told today.

The man, now aged 59, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his now adult daughter, was jailed for 11 years after a jury at the Central Criminal Court convicted him in July 2019.

During the trial before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon, the court was told the man twice raped his daughter in her bedroom when she was 22 years old after he asked her if she loved him or her mother more. He also sexually assaulted her on the same occasion.

Previously, he had sexually assaulted her and made her perform oral sex on him when she was 13 or 14 years old and while she was sleeping in the same bed as her friend.

He was later convicted on five charges including rape, oral rape and sexual assaults on dates between January 2003 and December 2004 and on a separate occasion in January 2011.

He had denied the charges, and has launched an appeal against conviction.

In papers submitted to the Court of Appeal, lawyers for the appellant said the trial judge had failed give a corroboration warning to the jury regarding evidence given by the complainant’s mother.

A corroboration warning can be given by a judge to a jury to highlight the dangers of convicting a defendant on the basis of uncorroborated evidence.

“On occasion, based on the evidence, there can be an evaluation of the frailty of evidence by the trial judge,” Colman Cody SC, for the appellant told the Court of Appeal today.

In response, Fiona Murphy SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions told the three-judge court that a “thorough and detailed corroboration warning was given to the jury” by the trial judge.

“She warns the jury that it would be dangerous to convict him [the defendant] on the uncorroborated evidence of a witness,” Ms Murphy added.

Judgment has been reserved.

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