Court of Appeal, Dublin
A man who beat and raped a woman after giving her a late-night lift to her home has had his five-year jail term increased, following an appeal by prosecutors.
Lithuanian national Aurelijus Kizelavicius (23), of Knocktornagh, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, pleaded guilty to rape and assault causing harm to the woman at a location in the county on March 29, 2015.
The Central Criminal Court heard that the woman had gone into a Monaghan town to see a band only to find the pub venue closed. It was raining heavily and a car parked across from the pub flashed its lights at her. She went to the car and asked the driver, who was Kizelavicius, for a lift.
The court heard that the woman invited Kizelavicius in for a cup of tea because she thought it was nice of him to have given her the lift.
Once inside, he suggested they have sex and the woman replied “you must be joking”. She later told gardaí that “out of nowhere” Kizelavicius began punching her in the face, with a closed fist up to six times. He then held her down and raped her.
Mr Justice Paul Butler sentenced Kizelavicius to seven years imprisonment with the final two suspended on April 30, 2018. He had one previous conviction for a minor assault.
The Director of Public Prosecutions successfully sought a review of his sentence on grounds it was “unduly lenient”, and the Court of Appeal accordingly increased his sentence to nine years imprisonment with the final two suspended today.
Giving judgment in the three-judge court, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said it was a serious rape involving significant additional violence. The victim sustained injuries to her face as a result of being struck repeatedly.
Ms Justice Kennedy said two updated probation reports were neither “entirely favourable”. Kizelavicius had breached discipline a number of times and lost his status as an enhanced prisoner due to “bullying and intimidation of others”.
She said Kizelavicius had pleaded guilty, although it was not an early plea, and had made a late expression remorse, one-and-a-half years after the sentence was imposed.
Ms Justice Kennedy said the appropriate headline sentence was 11 years which the court reduced to nine on account of his guilty plea and late expression of remorse.
The court suspended the final two years to take account of the “disappointment factor” of having an original sentence extended. The court also heard that he was now willing to participate in the Building Better Lives sex offenders program, having initially declined to participate.
Ms Justice Kennedy, who sat with President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, resentenced Kizelavicius to nine years imprisonment with the final two years suspended.
Kizelavicius entered into a good behaviour bond for the suspended period and undertook to abide by post release supervision.
In her victim impact statement, the woman said the attack turned her from a happy person into “a shy worthless unconfident” one. She felt humiliated afterwards and suffered shocking nightmares.
She was too frightened to open her house door and was constantly looking over her shoulder. She became depressed and locked herself in her home with the curtains closed for months.