March 2019

Ex-soldier refused extra time to appeal abuse sentence

A former Army officer who groomed and sexually abused two teenage boys during the 1990s has been refused extra time to appeal his 11-year sentence.

Timothy O’Sullivan (67) of Marlborough Road, in Dublin pleaded guilty to sexual assault as well as oral and anal rape of two boys on dates between 1991 and 1996 at locations in Dublin.

The Central Criminal Court heard that O’Sullivan was in his 40s at the time while the boys were aged between 13 and 16 years old. He subjected the two boys to abuse and threatened them they would be shot or buried in the mountains.

Sentencing O’Sullivan to five years and six years consecutively, Mr Justice Tony Hunt commended the bravery of the two victims in coming forward and noted their “courageous” victim impact statements.

“I will carry this with me for the rest of my life and will never forgive him,” wrote one of the men.

In mitigation, the court was told that O’Sullivan had grown up in West Corkand joined the Defence Forces as a cadet where he was an officer for 20 years. His previous lawyers said O’Sullivan had served with distinction and had been on one of the first tours of Lebanon.

His barrister told the court that O’Sullivan was very ashamed for what he had done and the hurt he had caused.

O’Sullivan was refused an extension of time to appeal the severity of his sentence on Friday. He lodged an appeal approximately 13 weeks late.

President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said O’Sullivan was advised in the aftermath of his sentence hearing that an appeal was unlikely to succeed.

Despite that advice, and despite the fact his sentence was “very much in line” with what was to be expected, he said O’Sullivan came to the conclusion that he wished to appeal.

In any criminal case, Mr Justice Birmingham said there was a public interest in “finality being achieved”. That objective was “particularly acute” for sexual offences where out-of-time appeals were potentially damaging for victims.

He said the courts were presented with victim impact statements on a daily basis which showed how “victims find engaging with the criminal justice system very difficult and traumatic”. Victims were entitled to put proceedings behind them and get on with their lives, the judge added.

Mr Justice Birmingham said no information had been put before the court to suggest an appeal had any real prospect of succeeding. Given the aggravating factors, he said O’Sullivan’s sentence was as likely to be increased as it was likely to be decreased.

In the Court of Appeal’s assessment of the limited information before the court, he said there was little prospect of a successful appeal and the interests of justice would not be served by extending time.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, refused the application.

November 2017

‘I will carry this with me for the rest of my life’

A former army officer who groomed and sexually abused two teenage boys during the 1990s has been jailed for 11 years.

Timothy O’Sullivan (66) subjected the two boys to repeated sexual assault and rape and told them they would be shot or buried in the mountains if they spoke out.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt commended the bravery of the two victims in coming forward and noted their “courageous” victim impact statements.

The men outlined the devastating effect of the abuse on their lives in the statements prepared for the sentencing hearing and both said they would never forgive O’Sullivan.

“I will carry this with me for the rest of my life and will never forgive him,” one of the men wrote.

O’Sullivan, of Marlborough Road, Dublin, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to sexual assault, oral and anal rape of the two boys on dates between 1991 and 1996 at locations in Dublin. He was in his 40s at the time while the boys were aged between 13 and 16.

The court heard that a pattern developed of O’Sullivan buying the boys alcohol. The sexual abuse occurred at various locations including O’Sullivan’s home, a commercial bathhouse, car parks, pubs and hotel rooms.

Mr Justice Hunt said the aggravating features of the case included the fact that the victims had been “effectively groomed” and O’Sullivan had taken advantage of certain personal vulnerabilities in the boys. He noted the “horrifying and disgusting” nature of the abuse.

He said there was no doubt that the boys had been targeted by O’Sullivan with a view to abusing them. He also took into account the young age of the victims and the abuse of trust involved

The judge noted the “inherent degradation” of the abuse and the fact the boys had been given alcohol which sometimes made them very sick.

Mr Justice Hunt noted the mitigating factors in the case including the guilty pleas which he said signalled to the victims that their account was accepted as being true and valid.

The court heard both victims had undergone counselling which they paid for themselves. One man said this had been a “huge expense” and the second man described how he had to stop counselling as he could no longer afford it.