Man who raped schoolgirl at sister’s party loses appeal

ireland
Man Who Raped Schoolgirl At Sister’s Party Loses Appeal Man Who Raped Schoolgirl At Sister’s Party Loses Appeal
The Court of Appeal dismissed Richard O'Mara's appeal, ruling that the original sentence was not "unduly high". Photo: Collins Courts
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Peter Doyle

A rapist who complained that the 12-year sentence he received for twice raping a teenage schoolgirl at his sister’s 18th birthday party was too long has failed in a bid to have his jail time reduced.'

Richard O'Mara (33), of Walnut Avenue, Kingswood, Tallaght, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape at Ballymulcashel, Kilmurry, Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, on October 18th, 2015.

However, he was convicted of both counts by a jury at the Central Criminal Court following a trial in April 2019 and sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment with the final two years suspended by Ms Justice Tara Burns.

The first rape had taken place in field close to a house where the party was being held, and the second occurred in the house after the guests had left.

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O’Mara was 27-years-old at the time of the offences, while his victim was 10 years younger and was still at school.

Appeal

He later launched an appeal against the length of his sentence after previously losing a bid to have the conviction quashed.

In a written judgment issued by the court, O’Mara’s appeal to have his sentence reduced was also dismissed.

In the ruling, delivered by Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh, it was noted that the appellant “had, and has, very few mitigating factors” which could have resulted in a reduced sentence.

“There was no guilty plea and no remorse or apology, and therefore he cannot benefit from anything in that line,” Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh, who had heard O’Mara’s sentence appeal in January along with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, presiding, and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said.

Describing O’Mara as “a perfectly ordinary person” who does not appear to have suffered any adversity in life apart from a heart condition, the judge stated the appellant appeared to have led a blameless life until the night in question and “for that he is of course entitled to some credit”.

However, she added that Ms Justice Burns had already taken these circumstances into account when she suspended two years of the sentence she originally handed down.

The “real question”, the judge continued, was whether the headline sentences identified by the judge for both rapes had been “unduly high”.

“We are of the view that while they would be at the outer limit of what was within the sentencing judge’s discretion in this case, they do not go beyond that and should be upheld,” Ms Justice Ní Raifeartaigh stated.

“In all of the circumstances, we propose to uphold the sentence and dismiss the appeal against severity.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help. In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.

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