Published Monday, 04 March 2013
Michael Bradley's appeal to overturn his conviction failed. (© Getty)
Michael Christopher Bradley, 48, was sentenced to 13 years behind bars for a four-year campaign of molestation.
The victim, Ciara Bradley, waived her right to anonymity to speak out about the abuse which was said to have started when she was nine years old.
Her father, formerly of Corrick Road, Draperstown, Co Londonderry, was convicted of a catalogue of sex crimes committed between 1999 and 2003.
It was alleged that he plied her with cola laced with vodka and forced her to watch adult movies before carrying out the indecent assaults and gross indecency with a child offences.
Bradley, who denied all of the claims, appealed the guilty verdict by claiming his former legal representatives had been incompetent.
His main complaint was that his lawyers at the time failed to seek to have a good character direction put before the jury.
Counsel previously instructed by Bradley confirmed they had not raised the possibility of such a direction.
Their reasons for the omission included his breach of a non-molestation order, convictions for drink-driving, alleged breach of bail by stalking his daughter, and his wife's account of a history of physical and emotional violence in their marriage.
Delivering judgment in the Court of Appeal on Monday, Lord Justice Coghlin pointed out: "This case involved allegations not of a one-off offence or offences, but of a prolonged period of planned and organised sexual exploitation of the child victim."
He held that it was tenable for defence lawyers to take the view that any good character direction would have had to be given in the context of other material so prejudicial as to cancel any benefit to Bradley.
The judge said: "Standing back and taking an overview of all the circumstances of this particular case we have not been persuaded that the omission of counsel to apply for a good character direction has rendered this conviction unsafe and, accordingly, we reject this ground of appeal."
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