Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Rape victim demands further action

Fiona Doyle speaking to the media outside the Central Criminal Court in Dublin after her father convicted child rapist Patrick O'Brien has been sent to jail after his bail was revoked. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday January 24, 2012. The sentencing judge has admitted he was wrong and insensitive to let the 72-year-old walk free from Dublins Central Criminal Court on Monday. O'Brien's 12-year jail term, including nine years suspended, starts now, Mr Justice Paul Carney ruled. See PA story COURTS Rape Ireland. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Rape survivor Fiona Doyle, who fought for 20 years to have her father jailed for a decade of childhood abuse, is pressing prosecutors to bring charges against her mother.

The mother-of-five said she wants further action taken as the Director of Public Prosecutions is to appeal the leniency of the sentence handed down to her paedophile father Patrick O'Brien.

Rapist O'Brien was jailed last month amid unprecedented criticism of trial Judge Paul Carney who reversed an earlier decision to release the 72-year-old on bail pending his appeal.

But the DPP has informed Mrs Doyle they now plan to ask the appeal court to increase the sentence, 12 years in jail with nine suspended. Mrs Doyle said: "I have found the prospect of my father having to serve only 18 months, if that, of the three-year term that was imposed both upsetting and distressing."

O'Brien abused his daughter, now 47, once a week from the age of eight. Mrs Doyle first made a complaint about the abuse to gardai and health workers 20 years ago. His wife Breda stood by him throughout the garda investigation and court case and after he was jailed Mrs Doyle said that her parents wanted nothing to do with her.

Prosecutors on Thursday informed her of plans to launch an appeal to have the sentence against her father increased. She said: "I will now put my faith in the justice system once again in the hope that my father receives a sentence that better reflects the gravity of the crime."

It is not clear when or if action could be taken against her mother. It is understood there would be difficulties bringing charges against Breda O'Brien, also known as Bridget, under reckless endangerment or failure to safeguard a child as the legislation is not retrospective.

"People in this country have shown that they want offenders, particularly in cases of prolonged sexual abuse, to receive sentences that are in keeping with the seriousness of the crime," Mrs Doyle said in a statement. "Our children need to be protected and abusers need to know they will be held accountable and will be subjected to the full force of the law."

O'Brien, of Old Court Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow, pleaded guilty to 16 charges of the rape and indecent assault of his daughter from 1973 to 1982.

Later, the Courts Service confirmed that the DPP had lodged papers in the office of the Court of Criminal Appeal. The appeal is being taken on the grounds of "undue leniency" of sentence.

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