Belfast man jailed for sex abuse of young sisters 25 years ago

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A 38-year-old Belfast man convicted of sexually abusing two young sisters 25 years ago when he himself was a teenager, has been jailed for 15 months and put on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years at Antrim Crown Court.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC told the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, it was “perfectly clear” in victim impact statements, that his abuse had a “detrimental effect” on the two girls as they were growing up.

In all the man, who had been a family friend, was convicted of seven charges of indecent assault and one of gross indecency between 1991 and 1992 when the sisters were aged from seven and eight and he was 14 or 15.

Judge Kerr also told the man that the abuse had occurred when the girls were at a place “of supposed safety of their own house, and indeed in their own bed”.

However, the judge said the man was a young person himself at the time and therefore did not have the same degree of culpability as that of an adult. Had he been an adult the starting point for sentencing would be one of four years, but since he was not, the appropriate point was one of two years.

Judge Kerr said that the man had since led a blameless life, and that there was no issue or even a suggestion of any other offending of any kind, even though he has had contact with children over the years.

He added that while the man was considered to be of a medium risk of reoffending, this was based on the fact he was convicted, and therefore had not acknowledged his guilt. In addition, the man did not pose a serious risk of harm to the public at large.