25 Sept 2022

Man who raped friend in her home fails to overturn conviction

Dublin Man who raped friend in her home fails to overturn conviction

A man jailed for 12 years for attacking and raping his friend in her home has failed in a bid to overturn his conviction, in what was his second appearance in the Court of Appeal over the same offence.

The 37-year-old, who can't be identified to protect the identity of the victim, had admitted assaulting the woman but denied rape.

He was tried three times as one jury could not reach a verdict and a second jury's verdict was quashed by the Court of Appeal. A third jury convicted on one rape charge but disagreed on two further charges of rape.

In his appeal, lawyers for the man said that the trial judge erred by not properly explaining to the jury that the victim's distress, as witnessed by three people after she escaped from the ordeal, could have been caused by an assault rather than rape.

The judges at the three-judge Court of Appeal found that the trial judge had adequately warned the jury of the dangers of convicting based on evidence of the woman's distress. Delivering judgement, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said the trial judge was right to tell the jury that evidence of distress can be "strong corroboration" of a complaint of rape.

Mr Justice McCarthy sat with President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham and Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly.

Following his third trial trial at the Central Criminal Court in February 2019, the man was convicted of one count of rape contrary to Section 2 of the Criminal Law (Rape) Act 1981. The offence occurred on May 4, 2012. He was sentenced on May 9, 2019 to 12 years imprisonment with six years post-release supervision.

The jury heard that the appellant and his victim met in May 2012 at a time when she was suffering from alcohol addiction and using Xanax pills. Following an argument she told him to leave her house and when he called her phone on May 3, 2012, she told him to leave her alone.

The following night she was awaiting the arrival of another friend when, at about 11pm, there was a knock on the door. When she opened it she was confronted by the appellant who, she said, was angry and abusive, both physically and verbally.

He knocked her backwards, kicked her and punched her. He drank from a bottle of vodka and continued to assault her before tearing off her clothes and raping her.

She described being dragged by the hair afterwards and said the man put her in the shower and sprayed her with water. He threatened her with a knife and attempted to burn a rug which, she said, he had ejaculated on.

The smoke from the fire set off a fire alarm and it was when he was dealing with the alarm that she escaped through the front door and out into the street.

The jury at her trial saw CCTV footage showing her fleeing into the street covered only by a towel. She was helped by passersby, who gave evidence that she was deeply distressed, and taken to a nearby house to await gardaí.

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