Calls for sentencing review after serial rapist bailed

There have been calls for tougher sentences in cases of rape and sexual assault - after a 72-year-old man was bailed despite pleading guilty to the rape of his daughter over a nine-year period.

Mr Justice Paul Carney suspended nine years of a 12-year sentence imposed on Patrick O'Brien of Old Court Avenue, Bray, Co Wicklow after describing his crime as "one of the most serious cases of serial rape of a daughter".

He has been granted bail on the basis that his trial was fit for appeal and the court heard O'Brien is in "extremely poor health".

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said that it cannot understand the leniency of his sentence.

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said last night that a review is urgently needed.

"I don't know if a woman, or a man, or a boy, or a girl who is a victim of sexual assault, looking at that sentence that's been handed down today, albeit pending an appeal, would be as brave, considering what has happened today in court," he said.

"And that is the very dangerous message that this sentence has sent out."

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