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A man jailed for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl loses appeal against six-year term

The man, now 26, was convicted and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in December 2019.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A MAN WHO was jailed for six years after he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl he met in a bar while celebrating his 21st birthday has lost an appeal against the sentence.

The man – who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim – had pleaded not guilty to the offence contrary to section 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) Act 1990 when he appeared before Judge Rory MacCabe at Galway Circuit Criminal Court.

But the man, who is now 26, was convicted and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in December 2019.

During the trial, the court was told how the assault took place at a party in November 2015 after the victim began talking to her attacker who was previously known to her.

The court was told she was sexually assaulted after her attacker pushed her onto a bed, put his hands inside her trousers, and tried to remove her clothing.

A medical examination later showed damage to her vaginal area.

Alex White SC, for the appellant, said he wasn’t seeking to argue that the headline sentence of six years was inappropriate.

However, White said there should have been an element of rehabilitation in the term imposed the judge.

He said too much weight had been placed on his client’s previous convictions, none of which were sexual in nature.

Several of the offences, which included convictions for criminal damage and threatening and abusive behaviour, were not in actual fact previous convictions as they took place on dates after the offence in question, White added.

Counsel added that his client now accepted his guilt, which was evident by the fact he was appealing the sentence only and not the conviction.

Geri Silke BL, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the accused had never shown any sign of remorse for his actions during his trial.

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By imposing a six-year year term, “you could see where [Judge MacCabe] was coming from”, Ms Silke continued.

She said the victim had spoken directly in court to her attacker as she described the damage he had done to her life and that any sign of remorse from the accused “would have been particularly useful” to the judge.

Dismissing the appeal, Justice Patrick McCarthy said the accused’s criminal record meant he did not appear before the court as a “person of good character”.

The judge also said an impact statement from the victim revealed she believed her sense of self-worth had been taken from her as a result of the assault and that her innocence had been lost.

He said there had been no evidence of any remorse by the appellant, adding: “We are all persuaded there wasn’t any error in principle (in sentencing).”

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Peter Doyle

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