independent

Sunday 20 October 2019

Convicted of sex assaults on nieces

An 84-year-old man who sexually assaulted two of his nieces 35 years apart will spend twelve months behind bars, having been told by the trial judge that what he did was 'wicked'.

An 84-year-old man who sexually assaulted two of his nieces 35 years apart will spend twelve months behind bars, having been told by the trial judge that what he did was 'wicked'.

'You selected two young girls and you deviled them and caused them pain and suffering, to the extent they would not accept your apology,' the Judge said to William Busher, of Ballycleary, Kilmore, at the sentencing hearing at Wexford Circuit Court last week.

Busher had pleaded guilty at an earlier sitting to six charges of sexual assault on his niece Maire Busher, now aged 22, between 1997 and 2003. He also admitted four counts of indecent assault on another niece, Margaret Sills (now aged 55), between 1968 and 1971.

Both victims waived their right to anonymity so that the offender could be named.

The court was told on Wednesday that the sexual offences against his two nieces took place 35 years apart.

Sergt. Michael Clarke outlined details to the court, saying that Maire Busher had just started school when the abuse started. Her uncle was living in Ballycleary with her, her parents and three brothers at the time. Her uncle would touch her chest area, saying 'it was good for her', and would also touch her between the legs. He would also take his pants down and make her touch him, while on other occasions he would rub himself against her, but penetration did not occur.

Garda Robert Aylward gave details of the offences against Margaret Sills between 1968 and 1971, adding that Mrs. Sills is now the Postmistress in Murrintown, and is married with two children. She was aged between 10 and 13 when the abuse occurred and living at Ballysheen, Carne, where the defendant would visit on Saturday and Sunday nights.

He (Busher) would invite the girl to sit on his knee and would put his hands between her legs and rub her.

Defence Counsel, John Whelan S.C,. said one of the issues raised on the last occasion was the defendant's physical condition if a sentence was imposed, given his age. It was suggested that the DPP be asked if there was any particular view on this.

Prosecuting Counsel, Philip Sheahan, B.L., told the court he had taken instructions from the DPP, who said that any sentencing is a matter for the trial Judge.

Mr. Sheahan said a course had developed in the Central Criminal Court as to where sentences lay, and this case would be on the high end for three reasons: the age of the complainants at the time of assaults; the repeated, habitual nature of the assaults; and the relationship of trust that existed between the defendant and the complainants.

In passing sentence, Judge Barry Hickson told the defendant that the two victims were two women of bravery, courage and integrity, who had given heartfelt Victim Impact Reports. Their courage and integrity showed through, he said.

Dr. William Hooper told the court he had been the defendant's GP for the past thirty years, approximately. He said that at the moment, the defendant suffered from hypertension while he had also been diagnosed with muscle twitching, with both conditions requiring daily medication. He also said that the defendant's mobility had also been reduced because of a double hip operation.

He said that regarding a prison sentence it would be required that the defendant take medication daily otherwise he would run the risk of a heart attack or strokes.

Mr. Sheahan also informed the court that the defendant has a 28-acre holding while he also rented an additional thirty acres.

Dr. Hooper told Mr. Sheahan there is no risk to the defendant carrying out this work.

Addressing the defendant, Judge Hickson told him: 'These were nasty, sinister crimes on two vulnerable young people by a mature man spread over a long period of time.'

He sentenced him to two and half years in prison on each of the six counts, sentences concurrent, relating to Maire Busher, with the two years on each suspended. He also imposed two and half years concurrent on each of the four counts relating to Margaret Sills, with the two years on each suspended. He said the two six months balance of sentences would run consecutively. 'You will spend twelve months in prison,' he told the defendant.

'You are a person who has not had any regard for the victims. What you did was wicked. I have had regard for your age which saved you from a more severe sentence. These were terrible crimes against two young girls,' said Judge Hickson.

Judge Hickson also told the two complainants - 'I was tremendously impressed by your integrity and courage. I wish you both well in life.'

Leave to appeal was refused.

Wexford People

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