A Cork man who denied raping, sexually assaulting and physically assaulting his sister who was almost five years younger than him many years ago was found guilty by a jury on all three charges.
The 33-year-old complainant testified that he raped her on one occasion when she was a child. On a later occasion when she was 16 he slapped her across the face for bringing her then teenaged friends into the house drinking, and that after that she fell asleep on a sofa and woke to find him pulling her pants down.
Mr Justice Michael White told the victim that she could prepare a victim impact statement in advance of sentencing. The case was adjourned for mention on May 5 at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork in order to fix a date for the sentencing hearing, with the convicted man remanded on continuing bail.
The accused did not give evidence but when questioned by Detective Garda David Noonan about these three alleged offences, the 38-year-old said variously, “I did not do it,” and “It never happened.”
Asked why she would make the allegations against him if they never happened, the accused said, “Something obviously happened her. She would not be making up these allegations if nothing happened her but it wasn’t me.”
Prosecution senior counsel Tom Creed told the jury the defendant was almost five years older than the complainant.
“The complainant said she was called upstairs at the family home, that her brother put her sitting on the bed, he pulled her by the legs and went to put his penis into her vagina, that she said, 'please stop', and that it really hurt. Her sister came into the room and said, 'What the fuck?' She recognised it as a molestation of her baby sister by her brother,” he said.
Mr Creed SC added, “People say these things happened in the distant past and it is your word against mine but in this instance, the sister arrived in the room and took the child away, she told her father, and that as a consequence the father gave the defendant a beating.”
The complainant said she was physically assaulted by her brother when she had friends drinking in the house one day when she was a teenager and the house was free. She said he slapped her across the face. She said she went into the sitting room after her friends were hunted out by her brother and she fell asleep afterwards in the sitting room.
She told her friend afterwards, ‘He tried to rape me’.
Colman Cody said this was a case where the jury should consider what they did not have rather than what they did have. For instance, he said one would expect outrage from the complainant but that this was absent.
“I am not trying to be derogatory but the tone of the delivery of the evidence was quite casual.
“In so far as the alleged rape is concerned there seemed be an uncertainty that any act of sexual intercourse occurred.
"All the sister said was that the defendant appeared to have his hand up the complainant’s dress,” Mr Cody SC said.
The defence senior counsel said another example of a stark absence of detail was the disclosure of details to her husband where she alleged her brother “went at her.”
Mr Cody asked if she was so shocked and appalled by her younger sister supposedly being molested by her brother, would she have arranged for him to get a job through her husband and – on a few occasions – to mind her children.
One juror was discharged early in the trial. The remaining 11 jurors – six men and five women - were unanimous in their guilty verdicts on the assault and sexual assault charges. They delivered a 10-1 majority verdict on the rape charge.