Cribbin started her sentence in the Dóchas Women’s prison on March 13; however, she spent less than three months behind bars before being released to a prisoners’ outlook centre in Dublin in June.
Cribbin – who told the egregious lie in a failed bid to dodge responsibility over a car accident – is supposed to be serving a one-year sentence for wrongly telling gardaí that the innocent man had sexually assaulted her.
She initially avoided jail time for the lie through a wholly suspended sentence, but the DPP appealed this for undue leniency and it was replaced with a one-year custody order in March.
Cribbin started her sentence in the Dóchas Women’s prison on March 13; however, the Sunday World has learned she spent less than three months behind bars before being released to a prisoners’ outlook centre in Dublin in June.
From there, she is free to come and go as she pleases and is also allowed to pursue her business interests.
The 46-year-old exited the accommodation centre shortly before 10.30am on Tuesday, chatting animatedly through the speaker on her mobile phone.
She then walked a short distance to a parked 181-registered Range Rover Sport before getting in and driving away.
On Wednesday morning, and similarly attired, Cribbin again emerged from the centre talking on the phone.
But her conversational abilities appeared to desert her when our reporter identified himself and asked her if she was sorry for the vicious lie.
“Would you like to apologise to the man whose life you could have ruined by branding him a sexual attacker?” we asked.
Cribbin gave no answer.
“Do you think you’re fortunate to be back out of prison so quickly, especially when the DPP had to appeal your suspended sentence to get you locked up in the first place?” we asked.
Again, she did not respond.
“Is there anything you’d like to say for yourself?” we asked.
Cribbin again made no response.
Moments later she hailed a taxi and was driven away.
Cribbin broke down in tears in court in early March after she was told she would be going to jail for making the false allegation of sexual assault.
The Court of Appeal was told Cribbin was originally given a two-year wholly suspended sentence after she pleaded guilty to making a false statement contrary to Section 12(a) of the Criminal Law Act 1976. But the DPP later appealed the sentence handed down by Judge Patrick Quinn at Wicklow Circuit Criminal Court on the grounds it was unduly lenient.
In a judgement delivered at the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, sitting with Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy and Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly, agreed with the DPP and quashed the original sentence, imposing a one-year custodial term in its place.
As Cribbin sat weeping in the dock with her head in her hands, Mr Justice Birmingham said the offence had “crossed the threshold” and “custody was inevitable and cannot be avoided.”
A request from Cribbin’s counsel, Patrick Gageby SC, to give his client time to tell her frail mother who was being cared for in hospital that “her daughter won’t be visiting for a while” was granted by the court.
In the judgment, Mr Justice Birmingham described how the offence had arisen out of events surrounding a single-car crash which took place during the early hours of July 12, 2016, on the outskirts of Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow.
Both Cribbin and the injured party were occupants of the car, which belonged to her and which she had been driving.
It was claimed the following evening at a meeting between the injured party and Cribbin, which was also attended by her friend and her mother, that he had sexually assaulted Cribbin prior to the accident, and this had caused the car to crash.
The injured party later informed gardaí that Cribbin “had threatened that she was going to complain that he had sexually assaulted her.”
Nine months later, in April 2017, Cribbin complained to gardaí that the injured party had sexually assaulted her on the night in question and provided a statement.
“There were interviews with a number of witnesses, and these contradicted the respondent’s statement. It became apparent to gardaí that the statement had been false,” Mr Justice Birmingham noted.
In August 2018, Cribbin was arrested and interviewed in relation to the making of a false statement.
“At that point, she furnished a prepared statement, standing by the original complaint and refuting any suggestion that the allegation was false,” the judge added.
However, the sexual assault investigation into the injured party concluded when investigating gardaí received a direction from the DPP that no prosecution was to be pursued.
Cribbin pleaded guilty in July 2020 to making a false statement.
Formerly the toast of the ‘horsey’ set in south Dublin, Cribbin was well known in equestrian circles. She was formerly fêted by the Irish Times for “running” her own riding centre and was celebrated for bringing the Chenet Riding Club back into the fold of the Association of Irish Riding Clubs.
Pictured atop a horse for a flattering Irish Times article in 2013 that described Stepaside as “a rural escape on the edge of Dublin”, Cribbin told how life in the village had changed during her lifetime living there.
“When Denise Cribbin, who runs the Paddocks Riding Centre, was growing up in Stepaside, it felt very rural,” the article read.
“Eight green fields separated her family’s stables and the village. Now there are none, she says, adding that the population growth is bringing people into the area.”
None of Cribbin’s new neighbours could have known the woman espousing the joys of living in Stepaside was capable of fabricating such an shocking lie against an innocent man.
Nor could the Association of Irish Riding Clubs when, in 2019, it marked the return of Cribbin’s Riding Club to the fold.
“Chenet Riding Club has renewed its affiliation with the Association of Irish Riding Clubs,” the Association posted on its website.
“The Dublin club was last registered in 2014 and is based at The Paddocks Riding Centre in Sandyford. Denise Cribbin is the chairperson of the club.
Contacted this week and asked why Cribbin had been released from custody in the Dóchas Centre after serving a quarter of her court mandated sentence, the Irish Prison Service (IPS) said "it does not comment on individual prisoners.”
Previously the IPS said of the outlook programme: “Following an assessment process, women are moved from the Dóchas Centre to live at the Outlook Programme in order to progress their positive sentence management.
“The women are required to be drug free and have, in general, been convicted of one-off offences.”