Three-year sentence after jury find man guilty of charges

A County Roscommon man found guilty by a jury of buggering and indecently assaulting a young neighbour was sentenced to three years imprisonment at Tuesday’s sitting of Roscommon Circuit Court. Michael Murphy (38) of Ardkillen, Strokestown was found guilty by a jury of three counts of buggery and five counts of indecent assault on a young neighbour who is now a Garda. The victim was seven years younger than Mr. Murphy. Mr. Murphy was represented in court by Martin Giblin SC and Leonie Reynolds BL and he pleaded not guilty. The state was represented by Ms. Delia Flynn BL, instructed by state solicitor Mr. Kieran Madigan. In her judgement, Judge Miriam Reynolds said that she had to construct a sentence in proportion to the criminal actions of Mr. Murphy. She noted that the case had been particularly complex in terms of legal issues, but she felt that the jury had considered the matter and had brought in a unanimous verdict on the counts now before her for sentencing. She noted that the matter was fully contested by the defendant and the injured party was put through the ordeal of giving evidence. She also noted the young age of the complainant at the time of the offence. He was a child aged five or six years of age at the time of the indecent assaults, going up to 13 years of age and thus the abuse had blighted his childhood and early adolescence.  Judge Reynolds also noted that the case had resulted in a breakdown in the relationship between the two families and she described the parents of both the accused and the victim as ‘good, hard-working, decent people who have been seriously affected by this.’  She also said that her sentence had to act as a deterrent to others and added that the sentence ‘has to reflect the odium with which such offences are viewed by right-thinking people.’ The fact that the accused displayed no remorse was also taken into account by the judge, and she noted that he maintains his innocence.  ‘While it has not been advanced, the defendant himself was only a teenager at the time and I cannot ignore that fact, it is something I take into consideration,’ said Judge Reynolds. She said that she would bear in mind the fact that the defendant was only 13 or 14 years of age when the offences began. She said that she considered that a sentence of 12 months was appropriate in relation to the counts of indecent assault, the sentences to run concurrent. In relation to the counts of buggery, the Judge noted that these offences occurred between 1989 and the beginning of 1991, when the accused was then an adult, while the complainant was an adolescent aged 11 or 12. In relation to these charges, she also took into account the delay in bringing the charges and the fact that it only stopped when the complainant became big enough and old enough to stand up to the accused. ‘He showed callous disregard for his feelings, for his relative youth,’ said the Judge. The effect on the victim was also taken into account, as was the fact that she was sentencing a 38-year-old man for something which occurred while in his early 20s. Again, the lack of remorse and the fact that the case was contested was taken into account, and the Judge also noted that the victim was cross-examined over two days.  A prison sentence of three years was imposed on the counts of buggery, to run concurrent with the 12 month sentences. Leave to appeal was refused.