A YOUNG man facing retrial today on a charge of raping a young woman behind a van on a laneway in Cork city decided to plead guilty to a charge of sexual assault instead.
In those circumstances, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon was told by prosecution senior counsel Tim O’Leary that the prosecution would not be proceeding today with the rape charge at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.
The jury sworn in for the trial was then discharged.
The accused man was remanded in custody for sentencing at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Dublin on December 16.
Earlier this year another jury found the same accused not guilty of oral rape and could not agree any verdict on the vaginal rape charge after deliberating for just over eight hours across two days.
In the original trial, the defendant said he did not take advantage of the young woman who was extremely drunk and that really what he was doing was minding her.
The 20-year-old complainant said to gardaí, “I could not remember but I thought something of a sexual nature happened to me because I could feel pain in my vagina.”
Barry White, defence senior counsel, said video evidence showed, “They entered the laneway. They appear to be arm in arm, arms around one another.”
Sgt John O’Connell agreed and said, “He has his right arm around the small of her back. She has her left arm around his shoulder.”
Mr White SC said, “He might not have been a gentleman on the night walking away but he is not being tried for not being a gentleman or for being a cad. He is being tried for rape.”
Tim O’Leary prosecution senior counsel said, “If she was that drunk she could not consent. He knew or did not care about whether or not she was consenting. At the time she did not consent and he knew she was not consenting or was reckless.
“He saw his chance down the laneway in behind the back of the van on the ground. And then walking away…”
The accused man did not give evidence. However, his words, as translated by an interpreter, were put before the jury from a memo of his interviews with gardaí.
He said, “I did not take advantage of her, she took advantage of me. She wanted to have sex with me. I did not told (sic) her I wanted sex with her. I believe she wanted to have sex with me even if she was not 100% aware. Even if she was 50% aware she knew what she was doing,” he said.
The young woman had three-quarters of a double naggin of vodka at a pre-drinks gathering and then drank more at a nightclub and remembered nothing after midnight in the club when she was dancing.
She became separated from her friends and CCTV showed her wandering through late-night crowds on the streets of Cork.
Shortly before 3.30am she met the accused and moments later they walked down the laneway in Cork city centre where, the prosecution said there were two incidents of rape, and the accused said there was consensual sex.