A LAWYER representing the young man accused of raping a young woman in a laneway in Cork City said yesterday that CCTV showed a man and woman walking arm in arm as they entered the laneway.
Mr Justice Alexander Owens and a jury of four women and eight men looked at more video evidence of the two parties on various streets around Cork city centre in the early hours of the morning in question.
By approximately 3.30am, the man and woman, shown to them in the CCTV evidence, are walking together on a main street and then turning into a lane where it is alleged that rape occurred.
Barry White, defence senior counsel, said in cross-examination of Sergeant John O’Connell, who compiled the video evidence: “They entered the laneway. They appear to be arm in arm, arms around one another.”
Sgt O’Connell agreed and said: “He has his right arm around the small of her back. She has her left arm around his shoulder.”
The jury saw the man and woman walking together behind a parked van.
Mr White referred to evidence given by a witness from an apartment overlooking the lane who said she saw a man pulling up his hood, lighting a cigarette and walking out of the lane alone.
Pointing to CCTV coverage of a man leaving the lane, Mr White said: “The male walking towards the camera does not have his hood up and does not appear to have a cigarette.”
He also referred to footage of another man and woman passing through the lane 10 minutes earlier.
“There does not seem to be anything there causing them alarm or concern,” Mr White suggested.
Sgt O’Connell replied: “They don’t stop or look towards the van.”
From the CCTV the man and woman went behind the van at approximately 3.30am and the man is seen leaving half an hour later.
Earlier on the same morning at 2.15am, Inspector Vincent O’Sullivan was on beat patrol and testified yesterday that he met the defendant.
“I noticed a male I did not know. I thought it was unusual. He was on his own standing by a pole. He had a red jacket on with the hood up even though it was not raining. I was watching this man looking at people as they were passing him. I got a smell of cannabis. I went over and approached him. As it turned out it was the defendant. I asked him his name. He told me ... and he produced ID.
“I searched him. Because of the way he was standing I thought he had cannabis on him. Where he was standing, the time of night, the way he was looking at people,” Insp O’Sullivan said.
No drug was found and the inspector left him and he walked away, he told prosecution senior counsel Tim O’Leary.
“A couple of minutes later he came back. He was looking for a €5 note he had on him. He presumed I had taken it. He went through his pocket again and found the €5 note. It was all very cordial and he left,” Insp O’Sullivan said.
The trial continues on Monday at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.
The defendant, who is in his 20s, denies two counts of raping the young woman on February 17, 2017, in a laneway in Cork City.