RAPE allegations by a woman against her brother were so visceral, cruel and brutal that they carried a ring of truth, the prosecution claimed but the defence said that just because they were shocking did not dislodge the presumption of innocence.
Prosecution and defence lawyers made their closing speeches and Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty addressed the jury of eight men and four women in the case where the defendant denies five counts of raping her and 28 counts of indecent assault at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.
Tom Creed prosecution senior counsel said in his closing speech, “The allegations are stark. It was visceral, cruel, brutal – the descriptions, the sounds, the smells the touch, the feel when the blindfold was put on. Did all that ring true to you? Did it sound real to you? I suggest it was like she was back experiencing what occurred to her. You may have felt it like I felt it. That is entirely a matter for you.”
Mr Creed urged the jury to consider the statement made by the accused man’s brother about a conversation he had with the accused on the day he was questioned about the claims that he had raped his sister. Even though the defendant’s brother came to court last week and denied that he had said in his statement to gardaí two years ago that his brother – the accused – had admitted touching, feeling and experimenting with his sister but not sexual intercourse.
Mr Creed said that in this statement two years ago the witness said the defendant told him – that he was brought in to the garda station for raping his sister, that it happened when he was 15 to 19, a blindfold was mentioned, that he never had full intercourse with his sister from what he could remember, that it was touching and feeling, that he was a kid and experimenting and the defendant asked his brother what he should do.
Mr Creed submitted to the jury that they could rely on the evidence of the complainant and the first statement by the defendant’s brother about certain admissions allegedly made by the accused in the disputed conversation with his brother.
Siobhán Lankford defence senior counsel said, “Just because the allegations are shocking or upsetting does not dislodge the presumption of innocence. You would want to have a heart of stone not to have sympathy with the complainant. It is common case that she was abused as a child by her father but it is important you don’t let that sympathy cloud your judgement.”
Ms Lankford said that as soon as the accused was contacted by the gardaí in 2018 about the allegations made by his sister he went directly to the garda station without any legal advice and told the truth, denying that he had committed any of the offences.
Ms Lankford said there was no doubt the father of the defendant and complainant “was a very dangerous man. He was an alcoholic. He was violent. There were beatings (of the children) with a belt. This was an extremely violent home with an extremely violent atmosphere and in that home there is no doubt she was sexually abused by her father.”
The defence senior counsel said the complainant described her brother having weights and a bar for exercising but he testified that he did not have such things and his brother corroborated this. Ms Lankford also said that initially the complainant told gardaí the rapes and abuse by her brother went on for five years but in the witness box she said it went on for three years from 1975 to 1978.
Ms Lankford stressed, “There was never any admission by the defendant of inappropriate touching or anything like that.”
The defence senior counsel said that the relevant time corresponded with the time that the accused met the woman he described as the love of his life who he married in 1978. She reminded the jury of the defendant’s evidence that he was not out on dates with his girlfriend and then coming home to do horrific things to his sister.
The jury will commence their deliberations tomorrow.