At the man’s sentence hearing last week Mr Justice David Keane had commented that the authors of character references should be in court and available for cross-examination.
Lawyers for the 39-year-old Tipperary man had asked the court to consider references from the man’s current partner and his parents. The man is in a long-term relationship and has other children with this woman.
Justice Keane said that it was difficult to see what weight a court could give to references from family members.
The man was convicted after a trial last December of three counts of oral rape of his son and three counts of sexual assault at his home in a place in Co. Tipperary on unknown dates between 2007 and 2014.
The victim was aged between one and eight when his father raped and molested him. The abuse came to light in 2016 when the child told a relative of his own age that his father had made him “touch him” and “had wanted him to touch his private parts and to suck his privates”, the court heard.
Finalising sentence on Friday, Justice Keane said that the offender had exploited a vulnerable child and betrayed the access rights given to him as a father.
He agreed with a submission from Karl Finnegan BL, prosecuting, that the case lies in the more serious type of rape cases, according to categorisation set out by the Court of Appeal. He set a headline sentence of 11 years.
He noted that the offender does not accept the jury verdicts and continues to deny the offences. As a result he has not expressed any remorse or apologised, made any amends or engaged in any rehabilitation.
He has a number of previous convictions, including one for assault. A Probation Services risk assessment places him at a moderate risk of sexual reoffending in the next year, citing his sexual deviancy, his level of callousness and the absence of any regret or empathy with the victim.
He noted that the offender has integrated well in prison and is on an enhanced prisoner level.
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He reduced the headline sentence to nine years. Justice Keane said that he would not suspend any of the sentence as it isn’t possible to incentivise rehabilitation when the offender continues to deny the offending.
He imposed three years post release supervision during which he ordered the offender to engage with offence focused work and obey all directions of the Probation Services.
Earlier he commended the resilience of the victim who in a victim impact report stated that the sexual abuse has not had much bearing on him and that he was trying to get on with the rest of his life.
Justice Keane backdated the commencement of the sentence to December 15th last when the man went into custody on his conviction.