• By Admin

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre welcomes Supreme Court decision on sentencing in marital rape case

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre today welcomed a decision of the Supreme Court on sentencing in a case of marital or intimate partner rape as bringing greater clarity to this complex issue.

This case of People vs FE had come before the Supreme Court on 6 December 2019 last, when the Court set out various bands for a range of circumstances when rape could occur, ranging from 7 years to a life sentence.

On that occasion, there were still questions before the Court as to the capacity of the Supreme Court to deal with sentencing itself. Today’s case was focusing on the operation of those general guidelines and the court’s capacity to determine sentencing. The judgment was delivered by Mr Justice Charleton and Ms Justice O’Malley.

Commenting on the judgment, Noeline Blackwell, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, said: “Those decisions pointed out that the Supreme Court had not only the right but also the duty to act in the interests of justice and public good. They reminded us that the Court of Criminal Appeal had been incorrect when it reduced the accused man’s sentence, as it had taken the rape by a man of his wife as separate from other incidents of domestic violence.”

“The Supreme Court had already said this was wrong, today they held that it was proper to restore the original sentence given by Judge Kennedy in the High Court. We welcome this judgment and the clarity that the Supreme Court has brought to certain aspects of sentencing of the crime of rape,” concluded Ms Blackwell.


Notes for editors:

  1. Dublin Rape Crisis Centre is a non-governmental, voluntary organisation which has as its mission to prevent the harm and heal the trauma of rape. It offers a suite of services to victims of sexual violence. It runs the National 24-hour Helpline 1800 778888 for those who need support in any part of the country. It offers face-to- face counselling & therapy and provides accompaniment to the Rotunda Sexual Assault Treatment Unit, to court or to Garda stations to people in Dublin and in surrounding areas from its offices at Leeson Street. There are outreach offices at Coolock Civic Centre, Dóchas Women’s Centre, Mountjoy Prison and Tallaght Hospital.  DRCC runs education and training courses on a wide variety of topics associated with its work to prevent and address sexual violence.
  2. We ask that when reporting on this topic, journalists remember that discussions on sexual violence can trigger personal trauma in those receiving the information. Where possible, please make reference to the National 24-hour Helpline 1800 77 88 88 for anyone who may be affected by the discussion.
  3. The reference for the case is The People (DPP) v FE, judgment delivered by Charlton J, 26 February 2020 at Kilkenny. Supreme Court appeal number: S:AP:IE:2018:000067 [2020] IESC
  4. You can read a copy of today’s Supreme Court decision at People (DPP) v FE 26 Feb 2020