Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Father found guilty of all 83 sex crimes against daughter

A father in the Republic has been convicted of 83 charges of raping and indecently assaulting his daughter.

The 49-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been convicted on Wednesday of a total of 21 charges of rape, buggery and indecent assault.

Yesterday, the jury of seven men and five women at the Central Criminal Court, sitting in Castlebar, Co Mayo, found him guilty on all 62 remaining counts of rape.

He had denied all charges, which dated from 1986 to 2000.

In shocking evidence to the court, the victim, who is now aged 30, said that her father had first raped her when she was just five or six years of age.

He had put her over an object in a press and raped her from behind.

She said in her evidence: "He told me, 'It's only going to hurt for a while. It's a game we're playing -- we can't tell your mother about it.'

"He kept raping me after I had my (first) daughter. He'd perform sex on you every way, you know."

When she was queried about how often her father would have sex with her, she replied: "Every chance he got."

Forensic scientist Michael Burrington gave evidence that, from studying DNA profiles, he concluded that there was an almost 100pc probability of her father being the father of her two daughters, rather than any other man.

The accused man chose not to give any evidence during the seven-day trial, but the jury heard that he denied all of his daughter's allegations when questioned by gardai.

In memos of garda interviews read to the court, it was put to him that his daughter had described him as a violent man.

He insisted that his daughter was free to come and go as she wished. "I have no violent voice. I love my children. She will come to her senses," he told gardai.

On Wednesday the jury found him guilty of five charges of rape, eight of buggery and eight of indecent assault.

When they returned to court yesterday morning to resume their deliberations, Mr Justice Barry White told them that he would accept a majority verdict in respect of any of the remaining counts on the indictment.

After deliberating for almost three-and-a-half hours, the jury returned with guilty verdicts on all counts.

The judge told them that it was not an easy task to sit in judgment of one's fellow man. In a case such as this, it was perhaps even more difficult.

Prosecution said it would require some time to prepare a victim impact statement.

Sentencing was adjourned to the Central Criminal Court in Dublin on December 13.

The judge remanded the convicted man in custody to that date and ordered that his name be entered on the Sex Offenders Register.

Hard-hitting testimony of courageous young woman

The DNA evidence was damning, but there is little doubt that his daughter's compelling testimony made the biggest impact on the jury in the six-day trial.

The 30-year-old woman, who had endured a 14-year nightmare at his hands, had only managed to fashion her escape when she summoned up the courage to walk into a garda station in 2000.

Her resolve was tested on several occasions since then and her final test came just over a week ago, when she had to face him down in the forbidding confines of courtroom No 3 in Castlebar courthouse.

As she was called to give evidence -- and nobody doubted that her testimony alone would either make or break the case -- she had to walk past him as he stared her down from his seat not far from the witness box.

She walked slowly past him, looking straight ahead and took the Bible in her hand to be sworn in. It was only when asked to give her name that the handful of people present in the court got an idea of how badly she wanted to distance herself from the man who called himself her father.

As he looked up at her and moved to touch the blue rosary beads around his neck, she declined to use his family name and chose instead her mother's maiden name.

For the most part, she was unemotional and gave simple, concise, but utterly compelling answers as she was guided through her evidence by prosecution counsel Paul Burns. At each break in proceedings, she left the witness box and the female garda was quickly by her side, once again forming a barrier between her and her father.

But she had yet to endure cross-examination. Martin Giblin is one of the country's foremost criminal defence barristers and he tested her answers on each and every issue of substance. She was not found wanting.

As her ordeal finally ended and she left the witness box for the last time, her shoulders began to shake. Just a little at first. But as she was met in front of her father by her ever-present garda escort, a sob escaped her lips.

It was gut-wrenching stuff and the jury members were clearly battling with their own emotions.

Only those intimately involved in the case know the young woman's name. And that's as the law decrees it should be in order to protect her as a victim and her family. As such, few will ever get to tell her how courageous she was; what a fine thing she did.

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