A man has been jailed for three years for the rape of his wife after she told the court she forgives him and doesn’t want him to go to prison.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the woman’s anonymity, was convicted last July after a trial at the Central Criminal Court of the rape and sexual assault of his wife at their home in Dublin on August 30, 2015.
He was found not guilty, by direction of the trial judge, of assault causing harm to the woman. The man denied all the charges but has since accepted the jury verdict and apologised in court to his wife.
During the attack the man ripped the woman’s clothes and put his hand over her face to stop her from screaming, the court heard.
Garda Leslie McCormack told the court that in a victim impact statement prepared last September, the woman said that she spent years scared of what her husband would say or do and whether “one day he would be ok, another day he would be violent”.
“For a long time I tried to live with it. I just lived hoping he would change. I thank god this is over. I’m not scared anymore. I go home and I’m comfortable. I’m safe.”
Justice Paul Coffey noted that a week after making this statement, the woman, who lives with the couple’s two children and her mother-in-law, wrote a letter to the judge stating “I really do need my husband with me to be able to build a future for my children”.
In a second statement made to gardaí, she said she does not want her husband to be in prison. She wrote that “everything that happened is true” and “everything in my [September] statement is true” but said she regrets bringing the case.
“I did it all in anger. I completely forgive him,” she wrote. In this follow up statement she said she still had strong feelings for her husband and said he has “a very good heart”.
She said he is a good father and said their children are crying all the time since he went into custody.
“They are crying everyday. Seeing them suffering is very hard,” she wrote.
The family are foreign nationals who have moved here over the last decade.
Mr Justice Coffey set a headline sentence of six years before noting mitigation factors, including the lack of any other convictions and his devotion as a father.
He said that after lying to the jury in his evidence the man has since acknowledged his guilt and apologised. He reduced the sentence to five years and suspended the last two years in consideration of his wife’s plea for clemency.
He said the court must also consider the fact that she has said she will suffer more if her husband is jailed. He said there is no suggestion that her plea is anything but genuine but it must be considered in the context of the evidence.
He said the woman has previously said her husband was controlling, aggressive and violent throughout the marriage. The judge said it concerns him that she now says she regrets going to gardaí and he said there may be a misplaced sense of guilt on her part.
The court heard that the children blame her for sending their father to prison and believe she made the allegations up.
Mr Justice Coffey said even where there is a plea for mercy from a victim, offending is not simply a private wrong but an attack on society. He said that rape always involves a savage attack on the bodily and psychological integrity of a person.
The woman’s plea for clemency is a statement of belief that her husband has rehabilitated, Mr Justice Coffey said. He said he is sceptical of her optimism which was at variance with the evidence.
Padraic Dwyer SC, defending, told the court that the woman has since tried to visit her husband in prison but he has refused these visits. The children have visited him quite often, Gda McCormack said.