THE prosecution in a rape trial said the complainant’s descriptions were so vivid they must have come from direct experience, but the defence challenged the young woman’s credibility as closing speeches were made to the jury.
When Ms Justice Eileen Creedon completed her address to the eight men and four women of the jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork after lunch today, they began to deliberate on their verdicts. They will resume their deliberations tomorrow.
Tom Creed, prosecution senior counsel, addressed the jury at the close of the case today and reminded them of the evidence they had heard from the complainant in the course of the trial.
“She says that on the first occasion in October 2011 the accused forced his penis in to her anus and raped her. She was terrified. She wanted to scream but nothing came out.
“On the second occasion there was a similar incident. She was terrified and did not know what to do.
“The third time she tried to move away. He was behind her and he put his erect penis in her vagina. She said, ‘I just froze, I could not do anything.’
“She describes the final act of oral rape when she was … getting something out of her bag. She said, ‘What are you doing?’ He forced his penis into her mouth … ‘I felt disgusted and scared’. She was sick to her stomach,” Mr Creed said.
The prosecution senior counsel said, “I suggest to you those vivid and visceral descriptions are something that can only be borne out of experience. They are not something one can imagine or invent.”
Defence senior counsel Siobhán Lankford said cross-examining a complainant in a rape case was not a nice thing to have to do and added: “She is a nice young woman but simply because she says something does not make it so … [The defendant] was asked why would she make these complaints [if they weren’t true]? You have to be careful about that question. If that question is all it takes we might as well not have criminal trials. We might as well throw in the towel.”
Ms Lankford said that the complainant told the jury that after the first alleged anal rape at Halloween 2011 she told her mother there was blood in the toilet bowl afterwards and that her mother brought her to the GP.
However, Mr Lankford said medical records showed she did not go to the doctor afterwards and that she did not do so until January 2014 and later to a consultant in April 2014 and that there had been a history of bowel problems in the family.
The defence senior counsel also said in relation to the second alleged anal rape that the first complaint of this was of an anal and vaginal rape. Ms Lankford said the third alleged incident was a vaginal rape while the complainant was in the kitchen making pancakes at around 9am when up to eight people were present in the house.
“Do you really think my client was vaginally raping his cousin in the kitchen when anyone could have walked in the door?”
Ms Lankford also asked the jury if they could see the oral rape happening in the manner described. She asked the jury if the variation in accounts of incidents given by the complainant caused them doubt about her credibility.
The defendant, who is now 22, pleaded not guilty to all four charges against him. He denied having sexual intercourse with the complainant at a time when she did not consent or when he was reckless as to whether she consented or not. He also denied two charges of sexual assault by penetration of her anus with his penis and one count of sexual assault by penetration of her mouth with his penis. The charges relate to a period between October 2011 and June 2014. At the time of the first alleged incident the complainant was 12 and the defendant was 13.