Published Friday, 01 June 2012
Judge Millar said Brannigan "was unrepentant and had no remorse". (© UTV)
On hearing that John Paul Brannigan would serve half his sentence in jail and half on licence, the quantity surveyor shook his head at the Judge.
The family of his teenage victim clapped as the sentence was handed down by Judge Geoffrey Millar QC at Downpatrick Crown Court on Friday.
Six uniformed officers kept the families apart after reports of disturbances at a previous court hearing.
Brannigan was unanimously convicted of raping the then 19-year-old girl in August 2009.
The victim told the court how Brannigan, had raped her when she was unconscious at a house party.
Brannigan from the Moneyscalp Road, Kilcoo near Newry, claimed the girl had "instigated" the sexual contact and had consented at all times.
However Judge Miller said it was clear the jury entirely rejected his version of events, despite his continued declarations of innocence.
Judge Miller also said it was apparent there were many people at the party and even present in the bedroom at relevant times who chose "to keep away or say nothing".
"This is a court of law and I shall deal with the defendant but it maybe that those persons should examine their own consciences as to their conduct in this affair," declared the judge.
He said giving four days of evidence had added to "significant psychological turmoil" to such an extent that her personality has changed, perhaps for life.
The judge said Brannigan's continued denials left him with no choice but to proceed on the basis that he is "unrepentant and has no remorse" but he added that given his clear criminal record, good education, stable family background and good employment history that he was not classifying him as a dangerous offender.
As well as the jail term, Judge Miller ordered Brannigan to sign the police sex offenders register for the rest of his life and barred him from working with children.