Meath man who abused fiancee's three daughters appeals conviction

By Ruaidhrí Giblin

A Meath man who sexually abused his fiancee's three young daughters in a “gross betrayal of trust” shortly after moving into their family home has moved to appeal his conviction.

The girls' mother stood by her partner and destroyed evidence after one daughter confided that she had been raped by the man, the Central Criminal Court heard.

The 40-year-old man was found guilty by a jury of one count of rape and and 12 counts of sexual assault of the three girls in their Meath home in 2009 and 2010 when they were in their early to mid teens.

Sentencing the man to ten years imprisonment, Mr Justice Paul Coffey paid tribute to the three victims, who are now in their early twenties. The abuse “wreaked havoc on their family life” and caused significant psychological harm, he said.

“They have been remarkably resilient and strong characters, which is greatly to their credit,” he said.

There was nothing that could be said in mitigation for the man, who cannot be named to protect his victims, save that he had no previous convictions, the judge said.

The man moved to appeal his conviction today on grounds that the trial judge ought to have warned the jury about the dangers of convicting in the absence of corroboration in relation to all three complainants.

The trial judge gave the jury a partial warning in respect of one complainant and, as submitted by the man's barrister, Bernard Condon SC, there was a risk the jury felt they did not need to be as careful in respect of the other two.

Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Hedigan, said the court would reserve its judgment.

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