DPP v F.G.

 
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[2014] IECA 42

THE COURT OF APPEAL

The President

Birmingham J.

Sheehan J.

[2013 No. 206 CJA]

In the Matter of Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993

The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Appellant
and
F.G.
Respondent

Criminal Law – Sentencing – Leniency of Sentence - s. 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993 – Sexual Offences on a Child

1

The respondent in this case pleaded guilty to repeated vaginal, anal and oral rape as well as sexual assault of the young daughter of his neighbours. The child was five years of age when the first offence against her was committed and the offending took place over a period of three and half years. They were committed in and about her family home. They were accompanied by circumstances of particular depravity and perversion, including incidents that happened in an adjacent shed of which I will spare the court the sordid details.

2

The offences to which the accused pleaded guilty took place between July 2004 and January 2008, a period of three and half years. For each of these years, from 2004 to 2008, there is a series of the most serious sexual crimes, which I have mentioned. These pleas were entered on the basis that other matters could be taken into consideration.

3

The trial was fixed for 29th of April 2013, and the accused pleaded guilty on 26th. The sentence hearing was on 29th of July 2013, and the learned trial judge imposed a sentence on 31st of July 2013. On the fifteen rape counts, the judge sentenced the accused to eight years imprisonment on each count, and on the five sexual assault charges he imposed five year sentences for each. All of the sentences were to run concurrently, with an order to post release supervision for a period of eighteen months. The accused was also declared a sex offender.

4

The D.P.P. applies to this Court for a review of the sentences on the grounds of undue leniency pursuant to s. 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993. The facts of the case are outlined in the submissions of the parties and they were given in the evidence of Garda Sloyne to the trial court.

5

The trial judge was informed about other proceedings concerning the victim of these offences, which were pending when he sentenced the respondent, and for that reason, he did not say anything about the facts of the case, neither did he give a reasoned decision showing his consideration of the case and balancing of the different elements. It is not possible, therefore, to note the judge's thinking process.

6

It is clear that the offences must be placed at the highest level of gravity on the scale of major sexual offences. The child victim was just five years of age when the respondent began his invasions of her body in every...

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