A man convicted by a jury of raping his daughter has entered his 50th day of hunger strike in prison for what he alleges is his “wrongful conviction.”
The High Court decided on Friday that the man has the mental capacity to continue refusing food, after the prison service requested the court make a declaration in relation to his mental state.
Ms Justice Tara Burns said that, on foot of evidence from a psychologist and two psychiatrists that the prisoner was not suffering from any mental illness, the man retained the right to bodily integrity over and above the State’s obligation to preserve life.
The man, who was jailed for 15 years in 2018 for the rape of his daughter when she was between the ages of 7 and 11, described her as “an unhinged fantasist with a long history of making false allegations”.
He said he will continue refusing food until his daughter “comes forward and tells the truth”, although he is taking coffee and water, and that the Irish State had visited “10 years of insanity” upon him since the complainant and her sister were removed from his care in 2010.
The judge urged him to discontinue his hunger strike for the sake of his non-national wife, who is not the mother of the complainant.
Micheál P Higgins, counsel for the convicted rapist, said his client would appeal his conviction in the Supreme Court if he does not die beforehand. He was originally found guilty of rape by a jury in the Central Criminal Court, before failing to have the conviction overturned in the Court of Appeal last year.
His daughter insisted in the Court of Appeal that the original allegations were true.
The convicted rapist told the High Court via video link on Friday that he did not want to die, but was “put in an impossible situation.”