A father who raped his daughter when she was between four and eight years old still denies his heinous crimes after facing two criminal charges.
The jury found Patrick Shiels, 66, guilty last May, but the court heard this week that the Co Laois man did not accept the verdict.
It was the second time a jury had found him guilty after he was sentenced to 10 years in prison at a trial last year, but the conviction was overturned on appeal and a new trial ordered.
This meant his daughter, Marlene Prakash-Shiels, who waived her right to anonymity so that he could be named, had to endure the ordeal of a second trial before the Central Criminal Court.
At this week’s sentencing hearing, she read her victim’s testimony in court, recounting how she came under pressure to drop the charges.
Ms Prakash-Shiels said she had been asked not to pursue the case as it would bring shame and embarrassment to the family.
She was also asked to “feel sorry for her father” because of his alcoholism, but this resulted in the burden of his actions being placed on her.
Ms Prakash-Shiels said her father “showed no remorse or appreciation for what he did” despite being given many opportunities.
Following his retrial in May, Patrick Shiels was found guilty of oral rape and quadruple sexual assaults between September 2000 and December 2004 at his then address in Togher, Portlaoise.
He was also found guilty of two counts of child abuse by forcing the victim to drink alcohol and watch pornography.
Ms Prakash-Shiels had been placed in foster care following the tragic death of her mother in 2001 and arrangements were made for her to visit her father.
Evidence was heard that the sexual assault took place while she was lying on a bed in a trailer where her father lived.
Shiels also allowed his daughter to watch pornography with him and forced her to perform sexual acts on him.
Described in court as an alcoholic, he also once tricked his young daughter into drinking cider.
In court this week, Ms Prakash-Shiels said she hoped it would be the last time in her life that she would “see the face of the person who caused so much destruction”.
She shared how she spent her teenage years feeling “broken inside” and still endures “devastating and horrific” flashbacks.
She has worked with professionals to get her life back.
Shiels’ actions have led her to believe she isn’t living up to her potential, but she said she came before the court as a person who was “not a failure.”
Ms Prakash-Shiels said many people “let her slip through the cracks” and certain family members overlooked what was happening to her because it didn’t directly affect them.
She said she has one parent who is deceased and a second who is alive but “died to me.”
She had started her own loving family and wants her children to know that their mother will always protect and love them.
She said she only feels sorry that he has “nobody but alcohol” and will never have the chance to meet their amazing children.
Ms Prakash-Shiels said she wishes her father and biological family well, but they are no longer a part of her life.
In her earlier victim impact testimony after the 2021 trial, Ms Prakash-Shiels recounted how she decided in 2016 to report the abuse she suffered.
“In 2014 my life changed for the better and I became a mother at 18,” she said.
However, she said becoming a mother “reinforced the feelings about the abuse” she was struggling with.
Just days before her daughter’s first Christmas, she overdosed but was lucky and survived.
After being released from the hospital, she said, “I promised myself that as soon as I got stronger I would report my abuse to the guards for the sake of my daughter, and I did so in 2016.”
Justice Tony Hunt said there was little scope for mitigation, other than a lack of previous convictions, because Shiels did not accept the jury’s verdict.
He will be sentenced later this month.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/father-forced-daughter-to-go-through-two-trials-after-raping-her-as-child-41847580.html The father forced the daughter to undergo two trials after raping her as a child