Jury in Cork finds man not guilty of rape of 19-year-old woman

The woman, who is now 27, had said there was no consent and that the accused, who is now 44, had vaginal and anal intercourse with her.
Jury in Cork finds man not guilty of rape of 19-year-old woman

The accused pleaded not guilty to both charges stating that there was not any act of anal intercourse. Picture: iStock

A 19-year-old woman who arranged to stay with a 36-year-old old-man over a weekend at a B&B in Kerry claimed that he raped her and later locked her in the room for a period of hours.

The woman, who is now 27, said there was no consent and that the accused, who is now 44, had vaginal and anal intercourse with her.

The accused pleaded not guilty to both charges stating that there was not any act of anal intercourse. He said that there was consensual vaginal intercourse over that weekend in April 2014.

Now at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork, a jury of seven men and five women has returned with verdicts of not guilty on both counts.

The accused man’s relief was clearly visible from his reaction in the dock. The complainant wept and was comforted by her mother and a garda liaison officer.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath thanked the jurors and excused them from jury service for ten years.

While charged with those two counts of rape, the evidence from the complainant was of being raped four times. 

Cross-examination 

Cross-examining, defence senior counsel, Ray Boland, said of her allegations, “He raped you four times and then left you in the room and locked the door. If that happened, would he not expect you to call the guards?” The complainant replied, “Yes but in a scenario like that you don’t think logically. It is easy to say eight years later if only I had called, if only I had squeezed out that window.” 

Mr Boland SC said that when the accused returned to the room, he unlocked the door and she did not run out. The complainant replied, “It is easy to look at it from outside the scenario and say, you should have done this, you should have done that.” 

Mr Boland said that the language the complainant used to the accused at the time did not amount to an accusation of rape: “You said, “You practically raped me” That is akin to saying “You almost raped me”, like, “you practically ran me off the road,” but in fact you didn’t.” 

The accused said there was sexual intercourse twice - once the night before, once in the morning, and that it was vaginal and consensual. The complainant said, “I disagree.” 

When interviewed by gardaí about the complaints against him, the accused said to them, “I thought everyone was OK. I did not rape this girl. I want you guys to know that. I am getting accused of something I did not do.” 

Mr Boland SC questioned the complainant making an unrelated rape complaint against another person from when she was much younger: “You said you were raped previously. You clarified to guards (afterwards), you were not in fact raped.” 

Evidence from complainant

The complainant said in evidence, “It was from an incident in childhood when there was some exploration between me and a cousin. I realise now it was not rape. It was something innocent that happened between kids.” 

The complainant told the judge and jury she regarded herself as bi-sexual when she was a teenager but when she went to college and had some sexual experience she began to identify as a lesbian. She said she met another young woman through the internet and on a night out in Cork she met some housemates of that other young woman and they included the accused man. The complainant said she and this man arranged to meet for a weekend in Killarney a few months later when the disputed events occurred.

Describing the alleged vaginal rape, the complainant said, “I told him no. I felt my own voice was not strong enough. I felt it was a weak kind of no… I said no, stop. He shushed me.” 

She said he left and locked the door of the room. “I was locked in the room. I couldn’t leave. I believe I was there for several hours.” She said he returned with pizza for them.

Later she left and as she was going he pulled her arm and guided her back and said they should talk. 

“I said, I need to leave. I said what is there to talk about? – you practically raped me. He said, that is not how I meant it to be. I said, that is how it felt for me.” 

Witnesses saw the two parties kiss twice when they were dancing on a dance floor when they first met in Cork months earlier. The accused said the complainant initiated the kissing. She said he did and that she brushed him off. From that night she had his number but he did not have hers, and months later she contacted him and they exchanged texts until the weekend away was arranged.

The accused man said, “Why would I force myself on her… One thing led to another and we ended up making out… Nothing was said. We just started kissing.” 

He said he was an absolute gentleman to her. He was infuriated and upset at the allegations against him, he said, adding that none of what she said, did occur.

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