Sunday 23 October 2016

DPP appeals suspended sentence for 'sleep rapist'

Niamh Ni Dhomhnaill at the Court of Appeal in Dublin (Collins)
Niamh Ni Dhomhnaill at the Court of Appeal in Dublin (Collins)

A Norwegian man who was given a wholly suspended sentence for raping his girlfriend multiple times while she slept must wait to hear whether he will be sent to jail following an appeal by prosecutors.

Magnus Meyer Hustveit (25), had pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to one count of rape and one count of sexual assault committed against his 28-year-old girlfriend between 2011 and 2012. He was given a suspended seven-year sentence by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy on July 13, 2015.

Hustveit, whose former partner Niamh Ni Dhomhnaill waived her right to anonymity so that his identity could be published, returned to his native Norway after sentencing.


In seeking a review of his sentence yesterday on grounds that it was "unduly lenient", prosecuting counsel Mary Rose Gearty SC, cited a former Chief Justice when she said that it wasn't easy to imagine circumstances which would justify a non-custodial sentence for rape.

Ms Gearty said there were multiple rapes in this case and a "shocking betrayal of trust".

Ms Gearty claimed the judge erred by not acknowledging that this class of conduct merited a lengthy period of custody.

Counsel for Hustveit, Caroline Biggs SC, said the exceptional circumstance in this case was "the all important email" Hustveit had sent to his former partner in which he acknowledged what he had done.

He pressed 'send' knowing the email could incriminate him because she had asked him to explain, Ms Biggs said. She needed to understand what he had done so she could get closure.

The affect of the email and other mitigating factors - his previous good character, young age, low risk of re-offending, and his guilty plea - put this case out of the normative range.

The three-judge Court of Appeal yesterday reserved its judgment to a later date.

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