An 84-year-old man who admits to sexually assaulting his young granddaughter has been jailed for 21 months.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the victim was aged between seven and eight-years-old when her grandfather molested her a number of times in the summer of 2014.
The attacks took place in the grandfather's home, in a shed and in his car when his wife, the child's grandmother, was out at a supermarket.
After hearing evidence on Wednesday, Judge Martin Nolan said it was a “pretty sad case” of grossly reprehensible behaviour. He said that while he had jailed grandfathers before, he wanted to consider overnight how long a sentence he would give the accused.
He adjourned the case to Thursday, when he imprisoned the man for 21 months.
“It was repeated misbehaviour. Just because he is an old man doesn't mean he shouldn't go to jail,” Judge Nolan said.
The Dublin man cannot be named to protect the anonymity of the complainant, now aged 16.
Judge Nolan described the victim as a person of courage, saying "it was no easy thing" for her to go to gardaí and then come into court.
The court heard the girl's family became suspicious of the grandfather and that when the girl's father confronted him, the defendant admitted his guilt. He made a voluntary statement to gardaí under caution in 2018 and did not deny the girl's accusations.
He said "if she said it happened, then it happened," Detective Garda Gillian Ryan told the court.
The grandfather recently pleaded guilty to one count of sexually assaulting a minor, at an unknown location in Co Dublin, between July 1st and August 31st 2014.
In a victim impact statement, the girl said: "This is something I won't forget and it still affects me. All I want is some justice.”
"This whole thing has affected me so much and will stay with me forever,” she said, adding that it had also affected her whole family. She said she was so young at the time she did not understand what her grandfather was doing was wrong.
Dt Gda Ryan told the court the attacks took place "every time she was on her own with her grandfather".
Defence counsel Fiona Murphy, SC, said her client accepted responsibility for his actions and was "deeply ashamed". He was now isolated from his family and, while sharing a home with his wife, he was "isolated in a box room as a result of his own actions".
Judge Nolan said the grandfather had abused the trust of his grandchild and family, adding that the cumulative effect of the assaults was "quite serious". The victim had a mistrust of adults and her relationship with her grandmother had also been affected, he said.
In mitigation, the judge noted the man's guilty plea, his co-operation with gardaí, the fact that he was not likely to re-offend, and his age.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.