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Rapist Hearne must wait to hear result of his sentence appeal

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Rapist Keith Hearne

Rapist Keith Hearne

Rapist Keith Hearne

Convicted rapist Keith Hearne will have to wait until next month to find out if an appeal against the severity of his 12-year sentence has been successful.

In 2017, Hearne (30), of Allenton Drive, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape, one count of oral rape and one count of falsely imprisoning Dominique Meehan during a convention in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown on July 4, 2015.

During his sentencing hearing, the court heard how he locked the door of a conference room in the hotel where he had cornered Ms Meehan, bound her hands with his tie and raped her.

When she screamed, he told her he had a knife in his bag and would use it if she was not quiet.

Horror

His bag, containing a "rape kit" of a prop knife, handcuffs, condoms, a mask and "sadomasochistic" items, was later found at the scene, the Central Criminal Court heard.

Ms Meehan (26) was only saved when another person forced their way into the room when they heard the disturbance inside.

She waived her right to anonymity after Hearne was convicted so that he could be named in public.

Hearne, now known as Prisoner 107512, is serving his time in Midlands Prison. He was sentenced to 12 years by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy in 2017.

At the time, the judge said it was difficult to express the horror and seriousness of the offence.

He said Hearne carried out "a series of extremely violent sexual offences in circumstances which consisted of her false imprisonment over a period of time".

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Brave Dominique Meehan

Brave Dominique Meehan

Brave Dominique Meehan

The judge said Hearne's only mitigating factor was his plea of guilty.

Hearne lodged an appeal against the severity of the sentence, and yesterday his lawyer argued that his mental state and the fact that he had no previous convictions should also have been taken into consideration.

Barrister Roderick O'Hanlon said a report on Hearne's mental health had been submitted to the trial.

"At age seven he had come to the attention of a senior clinical psychologist, an occupational therapist in 1998, an educational psychology report in 2002, a letter from a consultant child and adolescents' psychiatrist in 2004, and he was in St Patrick's Hospital in 2004 for approximately a week," he said.

Mr O'Hanlon said the sentencing judge had disregarded Hearne's psychiatric history.

"I accept that the judge was correct in holding that he was criminally responsible for the offending on the day in question but the assessment concluded he was suffering from a mental illness," he added.

"He [Hearne] is criminally responsible but the judge still had to consider him as someone with a mental illness, a personal disorder and no previous convictions."

However, counsel for the DPP, which is opposing Hearne's appeal, argued that the severity of the crime warranted the headline 15-year sentence open to the judge, and that the reduction of the sentence to 12 years was a sufficient reflection of the guilty plea.

Barrister Anne-Marie Lawlor said the gravity of the false imprisonment and rape was "heinous and horrific" and "the depths of depravity", causing the victim extreme pain.

Ms Lawlor also said that the doctor who submitted the report into Hearne's mental health into evidence had said there was "no causative link" between Hearne's mental health and the offence.

She also argued that there are cases where people committing their first offence receive long sentences, and that Hearne's sentence was appropriate.

The three-judge Appeal Court reserved judgment until May 13.