DPP v M.S.


[2014] IECA 58


Sheehan J.

Birmingham J.

Sheehan J.

Edwards J.


The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Sentencing – Sexual assault – Proportionality – Appellant seeking to appeal against sentence – Whether sentence was wholly disproportionate

Judgment of the Court (ex tempore) delivered on the 9th day of December, 2014, by Mr. Justice Sheehan
Mr. Justice Sheehan

This is an appeal against sentence


On the 24th January, 2014, the appellant MS was convicted of sexual assault contrary to s. 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990, as amended, and was sentenced to three years imprisonment with the final six months of the said sentence suspended for a period of three years on condition that he remain under supervision of the Probation Service for that period of time.


The factual background to this offence was helpfully agreed by the parties and is as follows.

The appellant visited the injured party's father at his home and brought with him two bottles of vodka. He consumed the vodka with the injured party's father who collapsed and as a result had to be helped to bed by the appellant and the injured party. The injured party got into bed beside her brother and later the appellant got into that bed and wrapped himself around her and touched her. She was wearing a black T shirt, string top and a bra. The appellant pulled himself close to her. He rubbed himself against her and kissed the back of her neck and touched her with his hands over her clothing on her breast and in her groin area. Soon after the commencement of this sexual assault the injured party left the bedroom, telephoned her mother and returned to her mother's home. That night the gardaí were called and the appellant was arrested and taken to Carlow garda station where he was interviewed. He denied committing any offence.

The conviction followed a three day trial in the course of which it was suggested that the victim had fabricated the allegations of sexual assault. The appellant gave evidence and denied the offence. However, following his conviction the appellant was remanded in custody for a period of three days prior to the sentence hearing and when he returned to court he accepted that he had done wrong and apologised to the victim. He also said that he accepted the verdict of the jury.

Effect on the victim

The victim was fifteen years old at the time of the offence and stated in the course of her victim impact report that the appellant had changed her life forever, that he had robbed her of her youth, that she had to grow up too quickly and that she has now in fear of older men. She hoped...

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