Monday, November 21, 2022

Eimear Dodd

Three men who separately sexually abused a child when they were teenagers during the early 1980s have been handed prison sentences.

Francis Murphy (61), Declan Murphy (54) and Francis Boland (56) were found guilty following a trial earlier this year. Each of the men pleaded not guilty and have no previous convictions.

The victim was aged between 11 and 15 at the time. He waived his anonymity to allow the accused to be named.

Imposing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Monday, Judge Melanie Greally said it is “beyond comprehension” that the victim had been abused by three individuals during the same period. It is unclear if the three accused were aware of each other’s actions, she said.

Francis Murphy (61) of Hamilton Place, Trim, Co. Meath was found guilty of 11 counts of indecent assault on dates between June 1982 and August 1986.

Declan Murphy (54) of Ridgewood Square, Swords was found guilty of six counts of indecent assault on various dates between 1982 and 1985.

Francis Boland (56) of Glasanaon Road, Finglas was found guilty of four counts of indecent assault on dates between 1981 and 1984.

Boland was not present in court for the finalisation of the case and a medical report handed to the court indicated he is in hospital.

The three accused do not accept the verdicts of the jury and continue to maintain their innocence.

Judge Greally noted that Boland and Declan Murphy were both juveniles at the time of the offending, while Francis Murphy was an adult.

Francis and Declan Murphy are both older cousins of the victim. Boland’s mother was friends with the victim’s grandmother.

Judge Greally imposed a prison sentence of 36 months on Francis Murphy, to run from today’s date.

She handed Declan Murphy a jail sentence of 30 months from today’s date and imposed a prison sentence of 22 months on Boland, deferred for one month.

The court heard during the trial that there were a number of incidents in which the victim would be forced to masturbate Francis Murphy and offered sweets and other inducements.

On one occasion, the victim and Francis Murphy went to Blessington, Co Wicklow to spend the day fishing.

Francis Murphy exposed himself and masturbated. He then forced the victim to masturbate him. The pair then went to Dun Laoghaire, where Francis Murphy forced the victim to masturbate him again.

In relation to Declan Murphy, the court heard evidence of a series of incidents of forced masturbation and attempts by Murphy to force his penis into the mouth of the victim at locations in Co Dublin.

The court heard that Francis Boland had grabbed the victim’s hand and placed it on his penis against the victim’s wishes in one incident. O

n separate occasions, Boland had attempted to force his penis into the mouth of the victim and forced the victim to masturbate him.

Victim impact statement

A victim impact statement was read to the court on behalf of the victim. In the statement, he said the abuse had “destroyed” his childhood and left him feeling unclean.

“No matter how much I shower or wash my hands, I still feel unclean.”

The victim said he is unable to go out alone and must be accompanied by his wife. When out, he “scans the crowd” to see if any of the three accused are there.

He suffers from serious mental health issues and has had difficulties with alcohol and drugs.

The victim said he has spent years “trying to make sense” of what happened and hopes he will be able to move forward with his life following the conclusion of the legal process.

Defence counsel for the three accused said they each have a long work history and have not come to any negative garda attention.

Defence counsel for Francis Murphy said there was no evidence of ejaculation, violence or threats of violence in respect of his client.

Testimonials and a medical report were handed into the court.

His client had a number of health issues, and he had to be taken from court to hospital during the trial. Counsel added that the prison environment would be challenging for Francis Murphy due to his health issues.

Alan Doherty SC, defending Declan Murphy, said his client had been a teenager at the time of the offending and is devastated by the outcome of the court process.

Mr Doherty asked Judge Greally to consider in mitigation that his client had lived a “blemish-free life” in the intervening years and is at low risk of reoffending. His client will also be put on the sex offenders register, which will have “life changing ramifications”.

James McGowan SC, defending Francis Boland, said his client had been a teenager at the time in question and had not come to garda attention in the intervening years. A medical report and a testimonial were handed into the court on Boland’s behalf.

Evidence

Judge Greally noted that both Francis and Declan Murphy gave evidence during the trial and claimed that the victim had fabricated events “out of spite” due to family issues. Boland did not give evidence during the trial, and his legal team suggested the victim’s memory was faulty.

She noted that Francis and Declan Murphy had breached the trust of their younger cousin, which was an aggravating factor. She also noted the use of inducements in some instances.

Judge Greally said that the mitigating factors of a guilty plea or expressions of remorse are not available to the three accused men. She outlined that the three men have no previous convictions and these events took place around 35 years ago.

She noted that the men had been law-abiding during the intervening years and each have long work histories.

Judge Greally also said all three would be placed on the sex offenders register, and they would carry that stigma for the rest of their lives. She also extended legal aid in case an appeal is lodged.

Wishing the victim and his family well in the future, Judge Greally said she hoped the trial would bring him some closure.

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