A CORK man who raped a sleeping woman while her boyfriend was in the same bed has been jailed for seven years.
Patrick O’Driscoll, now aged 21, of Rosewood Drive, Charleville, was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury sitting in Cork last March of raping the woman at a house in Co Cork on May 10, 2016.
O’Driscoll, who has 37 previous district court convictions, has been in custody since his conviction.
Mr Justice Michael White today noted that O’Driscoll still adamantly denied the charges and so there had been no expressions of remorse.
He said that nobody could but be moved by the victim’s impact statement and the effect the rape has had on her bodily integrity and body image.
He noted that O’Driscoll’s drunkenness on the night had been extreme.
He said the mitigating factors were O’Driscoll’s young age at the time of the offending and his tragic personal and family circumstances.
Mr Justice Michael White set a headline sentence of 10 years, which he reduced to seven years to take these mitigating factors into consideration.
Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, told the court that the woman wished to retain her anonymity and nothing should be published that would tend to identify her.
Mr Justice White said there was no restriction on publishing the identity of the accused but said care should be taking in reporting the location.
At an earlier hearing, Detective Garda Denis Ryan told Tim O’Leary SC, prosecuting, that a number of people, including the then 18-year-old accused and the 20-year-old woman, had gone back to a house in a Co Cork town after a night socialising.
The woman had gone to sleep in a bed with her boyfriend asleep at the foot of the bed.
She awoke during the night to find O’Driscoll having sex with her from behind.
Once she realised what was happening, she tried to wake her boyfriend and there was a confrontation with tensions very high.
The gardaí were called to the house on foot of reports of a disturbance and O’Driscoll was arrested for a public order offence before the full extent of the situation became clear.
The woman made a complaint to gardaí almost immediately after they arrived. O’Driscoll denied the direct allegation, claiming he had been invited to sleep in the bed by the woman’s boyfriend.
This was refuted by the woman’s boyfriend during the trial in Cork.
The now 24-year-old woman, who was not present in court for the sentence hearing, said in her victim impact statement that the events of that morning had changed her life completely and left her feeling angry, ashamed, worthless and dirty.
She said she suffered nightmares over the trial.
She could not believe that O’Driscoll would not admit what he had done and was making her re-live the experience.
She said the court case made her feel her feel that she had been the one in the wrong and it was a huge relief when he was convicted.
She said she was trying to move on but it was going to affect her for the rest of her life. O’Driscoll has 37 previous convictions including public order and road traffic offences at District Court level, with no previous for offences of violence.
The garda agreed with defence counsel that O’Driscoll’s previous convictions were related to drug and alcohol difficulties and that he had previous mental health issues.
He agreed that a “fair amount” of alcohol had been taken on all sides.
Defence counsel, Siobhan Lankford SC, said O’Driscoll had psychiatric issues in the past and been identified by psychiatric services as a vulnerable individual.
She said three members of O’Driscoll’s extended family had died in traumatic circumstances.
Counsel asked the court to take into account O’Driscoll’s co-operation with gardaí and the fact that his version of events had corroborated the injured party’s version apart from the central event.
She said when he was not on drugs or alcohol, he appeared to be a mild person.
She asked the court to structure a sentence to give him something to something to aim for and some hope for the future.