THE young Kerry man accused of raping a close family friend in her bed told investigating gardaí he did not want to drag her “through the mud” but that he would not admit to a rape he did not commit.
Memos of interviews the accused man gave to gardaí were read to Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty and a jury of seven men and five women at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork today.
One of the detectives put it to the accused man that he should “own up and take it on the chin.” He replied, “I am not going to tell you that I raped her. I didn’t. I don’t want to drag (complainant) through the mud. I don’t want to drag her family through the mud. I don’t want to drag my family through the mud.”
Asked what effect he thought it was having on his own family he said: “I have no doubt it has destroyed them.”
In the first of three interviews that the 23-year-old, who is now 25, gave to gardaí, he gave an account of what he said happened at the complainant’s bedroom in the early hours of June 10, 2018.
He said he and the complainant’s brother and another friend had been drinking at the house in the evening and then went off to a few pubs and a nightclub before the accused, the other man and others returned to the house without the complainant’s brother. The complainant had been invited to join them earlier but declined. She was in bed when the group came back to the house.
The accused said: “I went in to (name) room where I turned on the light. I asked could I stay the night with her. She said, ‘Yeah, ok’.”
He said that he started feeling her breasts and rubbing her vagina and that she started feeling his penis, she opened her legs and he started performing oral sex on her for two or three minutes. He said he put his penis against her vagina but that she was not aroused.
He said he got up shortly after this, put on his clothes, found an empty bedroom and slept until 10am.
When this version of events was put to the complainant earlier in the trial she said: “No, no, no, no, that is not how it went.” The defendant said he was mainly drinking vodka that night and said he would describe himself as drunk but not plastered.
Prosecution senior counsel Vincent Heneghan reminded the jury in his closing speech of the evidence from the complainant that she woke up to find the defendant behind her with his penis in her vagina and she asked him leave the room in no uncertain terms. He also reminded them of the woman who walked into the room witnessing what she thought was sexual intercourse taking place. Mr Heneghan said the defendant always denied any sexual intercourse took place.
Defence senior counsel, Michael Bowman, said of the accused that he had no previous convictions, he was never arrested before for anything and that his family were pillars of the community.
Mr Bowman SC said: “This case reduces itself to he said/she said. She said it was non-consensual, he said it was consensual and short of sexual intercourse.”
In relation to the witness who said she arrived in the room at the relevant time, Mr Bowman said there were a number of examples of where she was wrong in her evidence. The defence senior counsel said: “The prosecution says she saw sexual intercourse taking place. She saw no such thing.”
Ms Justice Gearty will address the jury on the law related to the case on Monday before they commence their deliberations on the rape charge.