Man cleared of one charge of rape but faces a possible retrial on a second count

Man cleared of one charge of rape but faces a possible retrial on a second count

The man accused of two counts of raping a young woman behind a van on a laneway in Cork city was found not guilty on one count and the jury could not agree on the second count.

They found him not guilty of oral rape where the only evidence was in his own interview with gardaí where he made reference to his penis being in the 20-year-old woman’s mouth.

The four women and eight men deliberated further on the charge of vaginal rape. However, by this afternoon, after deliberating for just over eight hours across two days they returned to Courtroom 6 at the courthouse on Anglesea Street in Cork and a disagreement was formally recorded.

In effect, that means that the accused young man is cleared on one charge and will have the other charge - vaginal rape of the young woman - listed at the Central Criminal Court for the purpose of setting a date for a retrial.

Mr Justice Alexander Owens thanked the jurors and exempted them from jury service for a period of five years. “The system totally relies on your service. It is very important for public confidence in the administration of justice. It is one of the few areas where ordinary members of the public participate in the public life of the state,” Mr Justice Owens said.

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 complainant said to gardaí, “that 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 per cent aware. Even if she was 50 per cent 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 dressed in a pink playsuit.

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.

An interviewing garda suggested, “I think you saw this girl knowing there is something wrong with her and you shepherd her down this lane for sex in the lane with her, knowing she is very drunk.” 

He replied, “She told me she likes me and wants sex with me.” The defendant who is in his twenties denied two counts of raping the young woman on February 17, 2017, in a laneway in Cork city, once by having sexual intercourse with her and once by putting his penis in her mouth.

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