A WELL known businessman who sexually and indecently assaulted his own daughter has avoided a prison sentence after his victim pleaded with the presiding judge not to jail him.
Last week, Oliver Haskett, 61, of Westbury, Clare pleaded guilty to 12 counts of indecent assault on dates between January 1988 and December 31, 1990 and to a further 20 counts of sexual assault on dates between September 1991 and December 1995.
The offences occurred at the former family homes in Foynes, Kilcornan and Adare and the abuse began when his daughter, Sheila Ryan, was five years old.
Ms Ryan, a 36-year-old mother-of-two, waived her right to anonymity and in her victim impact statement described how she had overdosed on alcohol to forget the abuse and recalled a number of occasions on which she had been hospitalised for alcohol poisoning.
Imposing sentence this afternoon, Judge Carroll Moran said Haskett - a father of four - was guilty of a breach of trust and it was a worse fact that he was abusing his own daughter.
The judge said the natural paternal instinct is to protect, not abuse and he said Haskett’s actions had resulted in the premature sexualisation of his daughter
In a letter addressed to the court Ms Ryan said she did not want her father imprisoned as she is happy that he has admitted his actions and that measures are in place to ensure he won’t repeat the abuse.
Commending the Christian attitude of the injured party, Judge Moran imposed a four year prison sentence, which he suspended for four years.
Oliver Haskett’s name will remain on the Register of Sexual Offenders for five years.