Suspended sentence partly re-activated for burglar who played a role in forcing a woman to have sex with her housematesPadraig Conlon 17 Jan 2022
By Sonya McLean
A man who was released from prison in 2018 after serving ten years for his role in trying to make a female college student have sex with her male housemates has had a suspended sentence partly re-activated.
Jason Paget (34) was sentenced to 15 years with the final five years suspended in April 2010 after he pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and sexual assault of a woman with intent to cause degradation at two separate locations in Dublin on February 11, 2003.
He was 16-years-old at the time.
Paget, who at the time had an address at Aylward Green, Finglas, was extradited back to Ireland in 2009 after he failed to appear at a hearing in the Children Court in 2003.
He had left Ireland for the UK.
A co-accused, Stephen Phelan, who was 26 years old at the time of the 2010 sentence hearing, broke into the Dublin home along with Paget and threatened the three occupants looking for their ATM cards and personal identification numbers (PIN).
The woman was then ordered to have sex with her housemates after she had been made strip naked.
Phelan, who at the time of the hearing had an address at Poddle Close, Crumlin, previously had his nine-year sentence for these and other serious crimes, including a vicious knife attack, increased to 13 years on a DPP appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal.
At Paget’s sentencing in April 2010, Mr Justice Paul Carney suspended the final five years of the sentence having taken into account the garda evidence that Paget was not the ringleader, his lack of previous convictions, his genuine remorse and his good behaviour since the offence.
Mr Justice Carney ordered that Paget should never have any contact with the victims in the case and he ordered that he undergo five years post release supervision.
Today Mr Justice Paul McDermott ordered that 18 months of the five suspended term be re-activated after the case had been brought back before him for non-compliance with the Probation Service.
He accepted evidence from recent hearings before him that Paget had “indicated a willingness to re-engage with the Probation Service” in July 2019.
Paget had returned to the UK in December 2018 following his release from prison.
He has children there and had indicated he was willing to engage with an equivalent service in the UK to fulfil the obligations of his suspended sentence.
Mr Justice McDermott acknowledged that there is no system in place to allow for Paget to engage with a Probation Service in the UK.
He said due to this and “covid intervening” Paget has not engaged with the service as he had been directed to do.
The judge said in the circumstances it would “be hugely unfair to re-activate the entire five-year sentence” given that the original bond was due to expire in 2023 and Paget had made some efforts.
He further acknowledged positive testimonials that had been handed in on his behalf before he re-activated 18 months of the five-year suspended term.
Detective Sergeant Joe McLoughlin told the court at the original sentence hearing in 2010 that Phelan had 26 previous convictions at the time of the offence, was the main aggressor in the burglaries and sex assault and had cut the female victim on her back from shoulder to waistline during the ordeal.
Det Sgt McLoughlin told Isobel Kennedy SC, prosecuting, that Phelan and Paget, who was armed with a bicycle wheel brace, broke into the Dublin premises about 4.30am on February 11, 2003, threatened to “knife” the three male occupants, ordered them into the kitchen and ransacked the home.
The pair took a €300 mini-disc player, a laptop worth €750, a games console and €300 of games in the raid, which lasted between 30 minutes to an hour.
The detective garda said some hours later, a male occupant in the second premises awoke to find an intruder with a Stanley knife in his room and another man in the doorway of his female housemate’s bedroom.
All three housemates were brought into one bedroom while Phelan searched the house and Paget stood with a hammer and hacksaw.
During the ordeal, which lasted nearly two hours, Phelan threatened to cut off the woman’s nipples if she didn’t lie on a bed with her arms outstretched.
Both youths ordered her to remove her clothes and she eventually stripped to her underpants, which Phelan cut at the hips so they fell off.
He then brought one of her housemates into the room naked and said: “I want the two of you to have sex.”
The woman was brought into the other housemate’s room a short time later, where Phelan ordered this second man to have vaginal sex and anal sex with the woman.
The man and woman, out of fear, began kissing to make it look like they were having sex.
Det Sgt McLoughlin told Ms Kennedy that Phelan cut the woman on her back and buttock during this incident but was called away by Paget, who was not in the room at that point.
The raiders eventually called a taxi to Blessington and left the premises.
The victims in both raids later told gardai that they noticed the intruders had been aggressive and “highly strung” during the ordeals.
Det Sgt McLoughlin said Paget was arrested later that month and identified by his victims in an identity parade.
He initially denied all offences in interview, but later admitted he had broken into a premises with another “fella”.
He wouldn’t name his accomplice, denied he had inflicted any knife wounds on the victims and denied he had ordered a man and woman to strip naked and have sex.
Det Sgt McLoughlin said Paget took a bench warrant at the Children Court in 2003 and was later extradited to Ireland.
He said Paget, a father-of-two, offered to “face up” to the burglary charges, but had made no admissions to the aggravated sexual assault.
He eventually pleaded guilty to all three charges on his trial date earlier in the year.
Det Sgt McLoughlin told Ms Kennedy that he had spoken to the victims in each case and they all said the events were “very vivid” in their minds.
He agreed with John Aylmer SC, defending that Paget had been described by a witness, who had sighted him near a pub earlier that evening, as looking like he was on drugs.
Det Sgt McLoughlin agreed that Phelan had been main aggressor in the incidents.
Mr Aylmer read a letter to the court from his client in which Paget apologised to his victims, said he took full responsibility for his actions and that he had been on a lot of drugs.
He said he was ashamed of his wrongdoing and that he has tried to turn his life around and be a good person, though he realises he has to “face up to what I did all those years ago.”
He described having a “broken childhood” and said, though he didn’t blame his parents; it “might have helped me if they were there for me.”