The case was heard at the Court of Appeal in the Four Courts
A man who continues to show no remorse for raping his wife has had his prison sentence cut on appeal.
The 43-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was unanimously found guilty of raping his wife in their home in May 2014 - making him the third person to be convicted for marital rape since rape within a marriage was made illegal in 1990.
A jury of eleven men and one woman also found him guilty of threatening to kill his wife and cut her face, having denied the charges. He had admitted assaulting his wife with a hammer which he used to strike blows to her head.
Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment with the final two suspended in June 2016.
The Court of Appeal heard that the man refuses to show any remorse for raping his wife and still does not accept the verdict of the jury.
He successfully appealed his sentence today, Monday, February 26, with the Court of Appeal holding that a sentence of 10 or 11 years imprisonment appeared to be “somewhat out of kilter” for an individual instance of rape, even after a not guilty plea, where there had been no premeditation or unusual violence. He was resentenced to 10 years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended.
Dismissing his appeal against conviction in December – a judgment the man also does not accept - Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the man, an Arab Muslim from north Africa, married his wife, an Irish national, in 2005.
They had one child and, following a year of maternity leave, the man's wife returned to work and ultimately received a promotion. This resulted in greater time away form the family home and began to cause tensions within the relationship.
Mr Justice Mahon said a series of assaults and threats, including rape in the marital home, culminated in an attack by the man on his wife and her mother with a hammer.
Moving to appeal his sentence, the man's barrister, Ronan Munro SC, submitted Mr Justice Peter Charleton's guidance on sentencing for sexual offences in a case known as 'D(W)'. Mr Munro said there had been no pre-meditation and no gratuitous violence (beyond the violence inherent in the rape itself) to justify a sentence of the order imposed on his client.
Mr Justice John Edwards said the Court of Appeal agreed that the sentence in this case, when viewed in isolation, appeared to be “somewhat out of kilter with sentences imposed in comparable cases” even though the circumstances of the case were “egregious” and the crime was “very serious”.
He said the offence merited a headline sentence of 12 years and not 14 as selected by the sentencing judge. This was reduced to 10 years to reflect the mitigating circumstances including the man's previous good character, the difficulties foreign nationals endure in Irish prisons and psychiatric evidence which suggested he was suffering from a “significant depressive disorder” prior to the rape.
Mr Justice Edwards said the man could not avail of the most powerful mitigating factor available, namely a guilty plea and expressions of genuine remorse. On the contrary, no responsibility for the rape had been taken and there had been “no expression whatever of remorse”. The man still does not accept the verdict of the jury nor the Court of Appeal's dismissal of his appeal against conviction, the judge said.
“After considerable reflection,” and “notwithstanding his present obdurate position”, the court suspended the final 18 months of the sentence, primarily in the interests of his child but also to incentivise him to “address his anger management issues, his mental health issues, and his attitude to women”.
Mr Justice Edwards, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, resentenced the man to 10 years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended for the rape.
Mr Justice Edwards said the court acknowledged the limitations in the guidance offered by Mr Justice Peter Charleton in a case known as 'DW', and “this court may take the opportunity, at some point in the future, and in an appropriate case, to seek to revisit the issue of guidance in matters of rape, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault”.