Man on bail pending appeal after being jailed for three years for serial rape of daughter

Tuesday 22 January 2013 10.58
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Patrick O'Brien admitted sexually abusing his daughter at least once a week
Patrick O'Brien admitted sexually abusing his daughter at least once a week
Fiona Doyle said the abuse was 'as frequent as having dinner'
Fiona Doyle said the abuse was 'as frequent as having dinner'

A man, who admitted sexually abusing his daughter at least once a week for ten years, has left court after a judge jailed him for three years but granted him bail pending an appeal.

Patrick O'Brien, 72, pleaded guilty to 16 charges of rape and indecent assault at Mackintosh Park, Pottery Road in Dún Laoghaire from 1973 to 1982.

His daughter Fiona Doyle said the abuse was as frequent as having dinner.

She said she was devastated by the sentence and the fact that her father walked out of court instead of going to prison.

She also said he has never said sorry to her and she feels the system has let her down.

Mr Justice Paul Carney said it was one of the worst cases of abuse of a daughter one could possibly find and it was at the top of the scale as regards offences.

However, he said he had to consider the health position of the accused.

He said he was aware that if he imposed a severe custodial sentence and suspended it, it would go out to the community in soundbites that in one of the most serious cases of serial rape of a daughter, the accused walked.

However, he added it was one of the most difficult cases to resolve because on the other side, if he imposed a substantial custodial sentence unsuspended, because of O'Brien's health problems, it would be branded that he had substituted one injustice for another.

The judge referred to another case where the Court of Criminal Appeal suspended in total moderate sentences imposed because of the state of health of the convicted individual.

He sentenced O’Brien to 12 years in prison, suspended the final nine and immediately granted him continuing bail pending an appeal.

He said this was a fit case for appeal because of the issues arising.

The victim also said afterwards that she believed her father and abuser's health problems were exaggerated in court.

Both O'Brien and his wife Brigid said they would not be making any comment.

Rape Crisis Network Ireland Director Fiona Neary said anyone who cared about the sexual abuse of children would be very concerned at today's sentencing.