A jury returned a verdict of guilty in the case against a 20-year-old man accused of raping a 15-year-old girl in County Cork in 2016.
An 18-year-old co-accused, who was charged with attempting to rape her, was found not guilty.
Mr Justice Paul Coffey remanded the convicted man in custody until May 31 for sentencing. The jury of nine men and three women at the Central Criminal Court returned after six hours and two minutes of deliberation. They found the convicted man guilty by a 10-2 majority on the rape charge.
Prosecution senior counsel Alice Fawsitt said the state's case was that the 15-year-old schoolgirl was vaginally raped from behind by a 20-year-old man on a lane in a town in County Cork while an 18-year-old man attempted to orally rape her by trying to put his penis in her mouth. The parties had been allegedly in a group of young people drinking together.
Both defendants denied the different charges against them which relate to an alleged incident on October 27 2016.
The convicted defendant who was 20 at the time denied to gardaí that he was present at the relevant time. He did not give evidence.
The defendant who was 18 at the time did give evidence and he was cross-examined by Ms Fawsitt SC. He said he was not present when the complainant was with the 20-year-old but saw him in the distance standing behind the complainant who was bent over and there was some kind of sexual movement occurring. He said there were three sides to the story and he was the one telling the truth.
Tom Creed senior counsel represented the man accused of vaginal rape of the 15-year-old complainant at a time when he was 20. “His case is simple – he was not there,” Mr Creed said.
Mr Creed said a number of issues made him uneasy. He said the accused was more than happy to give his DNA so he could be cleared of any wrongdoing. However, he said it then emerged that the underwear the complainant was wearing – that could have been examined for DNA – had been washed.
The defence senior counsel also found it bizarre that the alleged offence occurred on what he described as a laneway used by members of the public.
Mr Creed said he was also uneasy about the complainant saying she was wary of the two accused but by her own evidence had left with another person and then gone home, only to return to join the two people of whom she said she was wary.
He also said she told her friends, and that her mother only found out indirectly about the allegation. “I would have thought the first person you would go to would be your mum,” he said.
Roisín Lacey SC for the defendant who was 18 when he allegedly tried to orally rape the complainant, said the goalposts had moved a lot from the opening of the trial. She said he was first charged with aiding and abetting the other man in the alleged commission of his rape of the complainant. Mr Justice Paul Coffey directed the jury to find him not guilty of that charge following legal submissions during the trial.
As for the oral rape charge, that had been removed and replaced with a count of attempted oral rape.
Ms Lacey said these changes in the case faced by her client occurred because of the evidence given by the complainant. She said the jury could not convict on the remaining charge on evidence where they were being invited to speculate.