One year prison sentence for Wexford man who raped his half sister

One year prison sentence for Wexford man who raped his half sister

By Isabel Hayes and Fiona Ferguson.

A Wexford man who blindfolded his younger half-sister when they were both children and sexually assaulted her has been jailed for a year.

Bernard Maguire (29), of Allenwood Drive, Gorey, Co Wexford, pleaded guilty before the Central Criminal Court to two charges of orally raping his half-sister at their father's home on dates between September 2006 and September 2008.

She was aged between six and seven at the time and he was aged between 15 and 16. His half-sister, Bethany Maguire, now aged 20, waived her right to anonymity so Maguire could be named.


A local Garda detective told the court that the man put his penis into her mouth during a game in which he persuaded her to wear a blindfold and put different objects in her mouth.

On another occasion, he didn't blindfold her but told her to close her eyes, the court heard.

The offences came to light when the woman went to Gardaí in 2018.  After his arrest the man made full admissions to Gardaí, the court heard.

Mr Justice Michael White said sentencing in an offence committed by a juvenile was not straight forward. He had earlier noted that as the man was a child at the time of the offence but is now being sentenced as an adult, certain case law and sentencing guidelines need to be considered.


He said the aggravating factors included the serious nature of the offending, the breach of trust by an older brother and the age gap between the siblings.

He noted in mitigation that Maguire made immediate admissions and pleaded guilty. He took into account Maguire's youth and immaturity at the time of the offending and his remorse.

He said this did not minimise the seriousness of the offending or the impact on his half sister.

Mr Justice White imposed a two-year sentence with the final year suspended on conditions including that Maguire attend for assessment for the Better Lives program in prison.


Mr Gerard Clarke SC, prosecuting, told Mr Justice White that Ms Maguire wished to waive her right to anonymity.

He told the court, as both parties were children at the time of the offending, he was required to make an application under section 252 of the Children Act to allow anonymity be waived.

Mr Justice White said he was of the view that it was in the interests of justice that the court would not interfere with Ms Maguire's wish to waive her right to anonymity and made the orders pursuant to the act allowing the parties names to be published.

In a victim impact statement which she read out in court at the previous sentence hearing, Ms Maguire said: “When I remember what my brother did to me I feel worthless. The thought that my own blood could abuse me as a child, makes me think...surely I'm better off dead and buried.”

She said she has struggled throughout her life with not wanting to leave her home, go to town in the fear she might see her half-brother, or go to school with teenage boys who were the same age as her abuser.

“I frequently have nightmares about him and what he did,” she said. “He is never far away from my mind.”

The accused told gardaí that he knew what he was doing was wrong, the court heard. He said he had watched a video and been excited by it. He said his little sister didn't tell him to stop, but he knew she didn't like it.

Paul Murray SC, defending, said his client has pleaded guilty to the offence but still maintains he was younger than the charges reflect.

“He is convinced that he was 11 or 12 years old at the time, but challenging that would have meant that he would have had to cross-examine her (the victim) and he was insistent that this would not happen,” Mr Murray said.

He asked the court to take into account various reports before the court which demonstrates Maguire's remorse, the fact that he has addiction issues and the possibility that he has cognitive functioning issues.

Mr Murray said Maguire has written a letter of apology to his half-sister and she has received it, but she doesn’t accept it.