Victim 'vindicated' after rapist father jailed

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Fiona Doyle said she was overwhelmed by the support she had received

A woman who had been raped and indecently assaulted by her father over a ten-year period said she felt "vindicated" after he was imprisoned.  

Mr Justice Paul Carney has revoked the bail of convicted sex offender Patrick O'Brien, who admitted the rape and indecent assault of his daughter Fiona Doyle over a ten-year period.

On Monday, Mr Justice Carney sentenced the 72-year-old, from Bray in Co Wicklow, to 12 years in prison but suspended nine years and granted him continuing bail pending an appeal.

Speaking to reporters outside the court today, Ms Doyle said: "Justice has been served today and I have been vindicated and I accept Judge Carney's regret in what happened.

"I'm just overwhelmed by the support, the media support, the support of the people of Bray, Facebook, it's just been amazing, they picked me up and carried me the past four days."

She is to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny next Wednesday, and says she "looks forward to putting her case across" and detailing the problems she found with the system.

Speaking in court earlier today, Judge Carney apologised to Ms Doyle, and expressed his profound regret for the stress he caused in this case.

Today, he said he accepted that the procedure he adopted in the sentencing was inappropriate and something he should not have done, and said he had no difficulty in saying that.

In explaining his decision to originally grant O'Brien bail, the judge said that having designed the sentence he was concerned that he might be giving too much weight to the health of the accused.

He added that in certifying the case for appeal he was not canvassing for any reduction in the sentence but was looking for "immediate assistance from other judges".

"I frankly did not want to take the responsibility of the case entirely on my own," he said. "I wanted to share the burden with others."

He said he wanted the assistance of the appeal court, which he referred to as "experienced minds", as soon as possible and it was his intention that bail would be a "short-term matter".

He said he did not want anyone to say that O'Brien had walked, however, people were able to say that.

He said the way is now clear for the Director of Public Prosecutions to appeal the leniency of the sentence or for the accused to appeal the severity of the sentence.

Elsewhere, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said that while he could not comment on the case, he could understand why people were "disturbed" by it.

He said no child or woman should be subjected to the type of abuse that Ms Doyle endured.

However, he said he had to be cautious in his comments as the case was still before the courts.

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