By Stephen Bourke & Bríon Hoban
A Dublin man who beat his younger brothers “nearly every day” when they were teenagers and orally raped the youngest twice has been jailed for nine years.
The man (36), who cannot be named for legal reasons, beat his brothers with various implements including a bamboo pole, baseball bats, hurleys and sticks.
The man was convicted by a jury at the Central Criminal Court in April of two sample counts of orally raping his brother at the then family home in Dublin on dates between March 28, 2001 and March 27, 2002.
He was also convicted of seven counts of assault causing harm at the same location on dates between March 28, 2001 and March 27, 2006.
Following a second trial earlier this year, the man was convicted by a jury of five counts of assault causing harm on dates between 1999 and 2003.
The man was also found not guilty by the direction of the trial judge of an allegation of sexual assault against the middle brother in the family.
He had pleaded not guilty to all of these offences.
The court heard that boys’ parents separated in 1997.
Their father was absent and their mother was an alcoholic, which meant they were left largely without parental supervision.
The accused, the eldest of the three, later told gardaí he saw himself as the “man of the house” — and that he had to “man” the behaviour of his brothers with a level of violence he alleged had been used on him by his father.
“These children had no parental support when [their eldest brother] was carrying out a campaign of violence when he was a child himself,” Mr Justice Michael White said.
“[Coming forward] took great courage on their part and I commend them for it.”
Passing sentence today Mr Justice White said the nature of the “extreme violence” inflicted on his brothers, the life-long effects of it, his culpability by reason of age, and the high risk of reoffending, were all aggravating factors in the case.
The judge said that as a boy, the accused had been “badly damaged” by his family situation, by the absence of his father and his mother’s alcoholism.
Justice White sentenced the man to nine years in prison for the two oral rapes of his youngest brother.
He also ordered a five-year term for each of the seven counts of assault causing harm on his youngest brother and the five on his middle brother.
Justice White ordered that all the sentences be served concurrently for an effective operative sentence of nine years imprisonment.
He backdated the sentences to the start of the man’s detention on February 5, 2020.
During the first trial, the accused’s younger brother gave evidence that he was 11 or 12 years old the first time something “not good” happened.
He said that he got “hidings” from his older brother and he was also hit with weapons, baseball bats, hurleys and sticks. He said he was beaten up “nearly every day” until he left the family home at 16.
The victim said his older brother made him “suck his dick” on two occasions when he was 11 years old. He said the first time ended when another of his brothers walked in.
When the accused was interviewed by gardaí following his arrest, he was asked if he ever got his youngest brother to give him “head”. The accused replied that it is “a possibility”.
A garda sergeant asked what he did to his brother and what his brother did to him sexually. The accused replied his younger brother “probably gave me a bit of head”.
Asked if this happened many times, the accused replied that this happened “once or twice”.
The middle brother, who appeared as a witness in the first trial, said he remembered going into a bedroom in the family home and seeing the accused on the top bunk with a blanket over him. He said he asked where the complainant was and the accused man started laughing.
The man said his younger brother popped his head up from under the blanket and he saw the accused pulling his boxers up. He said he knew what his brother was doing then, but that the accused started hitting him and put a pillow over his face, he agreed he would not say anything.
A separate trial dealt with the charges arising from the middle brother’s complaints.
This trial heard that the victim was attacked by his elder brother as early as 1999, when he was aged 11.
On a day in March 2002, his mother was gone from the home, the court heard. It was assumed she was drinking. [The accused] had a bendy bamboo pole off a tent with elastic string hanging out of it,” the middle brother’s statement read.
Giving evidence to a sentence hearing earlier this month, a detective garda said the evidence was that the accused had his middle brother stripped to his underwear, and whipped him the pole.
“If he told anyone he would get it worse the next time,” he told the court.
On another occasion, after the middle brother had began working as a lounge boy, the eldest brother called him to his room and demanded money from him.
When he refused, the accused began “hitting him with a baton with screws in it, hitting him in the hand and foot”. After this attack the middle brother could not play football or break into a run. He never went to hospital for the attacks.
On another occasion the middle brother recalled to gardaí being told to lie down, as [the accused] “wanted to stand on his face”. The accused stood on his nose twice and bloodied it, he said, so that he could not return to school that day. Instead he went and hid in a park.
When he was 15 years old, the day before St Patrick’s Day, the accused called him to his room and demanded to know whether he “did drink or drugs”.
He hit him in the head and face with a baton and stabbed him with a screw.
On one occasion, he said the accused man had punched him until he was dizzy, and he went to look for help from his mother. She was drunk in a neighbour’s house and though she said she would return, she did not.
“I suffer from a serious panic disorder.
“I feel anxious all day every day… the feeling caused rage attacks. I’m on medication for the rest of my life. Certain tools in work make me get flashbacks of what he touched me with. It has all gotten worse as I get older,” the middle brother said in a victim impact statement.
In his plea of mitigation, George Burns BL, defending, said: “My client’s position is that he had been subject to violence from his father, as had his mother and when his father left around 1997 he behaved as his father had. That reduces, in my respectful submission, my client’s culpability in respect of the Section 3 assaults.”
He said the man’s father had served prison terms for offences of violence.
“My client expressed that to the guards on both occasions…that information is replicated in the psychiatric reports.”
“It’s sad and tragic – he’s now estranged from all members of his family, except his mother, who has custody of his daughter. That child’s mother is deceased.”
He said his client had first started taking drugs and drinking at a young age, with his first convictions recorded in the early 2000s.
“He started taking heroin in [prison] and is now addicted. He is on 10mls of methadone,” adding that the dosage had increased to 20mLs during the trials.
“His mother is bringing up is daughter and he has an infant daughter who was born while he was in custody,” he said.
Counsel said his client had been hospitalised for a period of time in January and February 2020, saying he was infected with hepatitis C and suffered from abscesses and infections associated with his drug use.
“It’s not in any way what one would call a glamorous life – it’s a hard one, living on the streets, addicted to heroin, in and out of prison.”
“I will ask the court to look at his history of offending in the context of his addiction,” Mr Burns said.