A man, who was jailed for eight years for the repeated rape and sexual abuse of his younger brother, has appealed his sentence to the Court of Appeal.
John Murphy abused his brother for a decade, starting when his victim was ten. For the latter years, he carried out the abuse when his brother was asleep. All of the crimes took place in the family home in a Cork town between 1988 and 1997.
Murphy (46), a father-of-two formerly of Waterfall, Co Cork pleaded guilty to 12 sample counts, including three of oral rape, at the Central Criminal Court last year.
The victim, now in his 40s, waived his anonymity so that his abuser could be identified. He told the court that he had been on a long and horrendous journey.
“He imposed a life sentence on me,” he said of his abuser, adding that Murphy had taken advantage of a child's innocence to satisfy his own sexual desire.
Justice Micheal White said that Murphy had used his younger brother for sexual gratification and that this had a devastating impact on his victim. He described the breach of trust as fundamental, saying the brotherly relationship was “cruelly violated”.
Justice White set a headline sentence of 13 years, which he reduced to ten in consideration of Murphy’s admissions and guilty pleas. He then suspended the last two years on condition that Murphy engage with psychological services and victim-focused work while in custody, and stay under Probation Service supervision for that period.
He also ordered Murphy to undergo assessment for a sex offender treatment programme.
The abuser appealed the severity of his sentence to the Court of Appeal today.
His barrister, Tom Creed SC, submitted that the sentencing judge had erred in principle in putting the case into the more serious category, and that the headline sentence was excessive.
“There were two factors that I think the judge laid too much emphasis on,” he said.
He noted that the judge had viewed the breach of trust as an aggravating factor.
“I have difficulty with the concept of a breach of trust between a 14-year-old and a ten-year-old,” he said, referring to the age difference between the brothers when the abuse began.
Counsel also noted that the judge had viewed the length of abuse, at ten years, as another aggravating factor.
Mr Creed pointed out that the complainant had initially reported the abuse as having lasted from 1988 to 1993. It was his client, he said, who had then disclosed that he had continued to abuse his brother while he was asleep from 1993 to 1997.
Tim O’Leary SC responded on behalf of the State. He said that ten years was a long period of time and that the judge was entitled to put this case into the more serious category. He said that the headline sentence of 13 years was appropriate and that there was no error in principle.
Justice John Edwards, presiding with Justice Isobel Kennedy and Justice Úna Ni Raifeartaigh, reserved judgment