November 2015

Man jailed for sexually abusing young girl

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A 30-year-old west Belfast man has been jailed for 16 months and placed on the sex offenders register for ten years for abusing a young schoolgirl.

Ciaran Guiney was informed by Judge Gordon Kerr QC, on Monday, that he will spend half the sentence in custody, with the remaining eight months spent on supervised licence upon his release.

Belfast Crown Court heard that when the man’s offending came to light, he expressed concerns that he had been caught two-timing his fianceé.

When the case was first heard last month, there were scenes of uproar in the public gallery when a fight broke out between two groups of people linked to the case.

However, there was a police presence during today’s sentencing, which passed off without incident.

Before sentence was passed, Judge Kerr referred to the previous hearing, telling the court: “On the last occasion before this court there was disorder. Any repetition of that today will be severely dealt with.”

During the last hearing, it emerged that the defendant had abused the schoolgirl in the west Belfast home he shared with his fianceé. 

He admitted a total of nine offences including:

  • Sexual activity with a child

  • Causing a child to watch a sex act

  • Causing a child to engage in a sex act.

The offences were committed over a two year period spanning from May 2012 to August 2014, and started when the young victim was aged 13.

Crown prosecutor Rosemary Walsh told the court that over the course of the two years, the defendant sexually abused the girl, showed her pornography on his phone and send her an indecent picture on Facebook.

Ms Walsh said the abuse came to an end last summer – around the same time the girl told her boyfriend that a man had been molesting her.

The girl told her mother what happened in October 2014, and when he was confronted about it, the defendant apologised.

The police became involved and when the defendant went voluntarily to Grosvenor Road police station, he was arrested and made ‘no comment’ responses throughout two interviews.

During the third interview, a statement on his behalf was read out and in this he denied anything had happened with the girl, and that any contact between them had been “innocent and non-sexual.”

However on the day his trial was due to start in September, the Belfast man changed his stance and pleaded guilty to a total of nine offences.

Ms Walsh said the girl had suffered “emotional turmoil” as a result of what happened, and has since been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Gavan Duffy QC, representing the defendant, said his client’s guilty plea had spared the girl from having to come to court and give evidence.

Saying the defendant accepts his actions have had a “significant impact” on the girl, Mr Duffy said that at the time of the offending the defendant “sought to encourage and pursue a form of relationship” with her, which was “wholly unacceptable.”

Mr Duffy also said that when he was confronted by the girl’s mother, he “made admissions” and “accepted wrongdoing from the start.”

Sending Guiney to jail, Judge Kerr spoke of the “serious impact” his offending has had on his young victim, adding this was a “significant aggravating feature, along with the breach of trust.”

As well as being placed on the sex offenders register for ten years, Guiney was also made the subject of a seven year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.