The jury have failed to reach verdicts in the trial of three Dublin men accused of raping a woman in a car.
The three Dublin men, who are now in their early 20s and who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to raping a woman at Bull Island, Dollymount, Dublin, on January 5, 2016.
The trial heard that three men were all teenagers when they drove the then 18-year-old woman to Dollymount Strand were they are alleged to have raped her one after the other. The defendants say that the woman consented to all sexual activity and had initiated sex.
On day 29 of the trial, the jury indicated that they were unable to reach a verdict on any count after deliberating for five and a half hours.
Mr Justice Alexander Owens said he wished to express his gratitude on behalf of the judiciary and the people of Ireland to the jury for their service.
Mr Justice Owens said that these have been exceptional circumstances due to the events of the past few weeks and that he would exempt the jury from future service for longer than would normally happen in a trial like this. He exempted them from jury service for a period of 15 years.
He remanded the three men on continuing bail and adjourned the matter to June 15 next.
During the trial, the woman testified that on the night of the alleged rapes she met the defendants, who she didn't know, in an internet cafe in the city centre. She said they told her they were going for a drive and would bring her back to where she was.
She said she did not want to go at first, but agreed to go for a walk and got into the car with the three men. She said that the car ended up in the “middle of nowhere” and was “out at the sea”.
The woman said the men then raped her. She said she felt horrible, shocked and disgusted. She said her door had a child lock on it and she could not get out of the car the whole time she was there.
She said she was told that another person was going to pick her up and bring her home. She said the car headed off very quickly.
Another car arrived containing three different men then arrived and she was raped by two of the men in this car, the woman told the trial. She said that these men all got back into their car afterwards, laughed and drove away, leaving her in the middle of nowhere.
None of the men who arrived in the second car are before the court.
Giving evidence during the trial, one of the accused men said that the complainant was trying to ruin his life, that he has never disrespected a woman and never would.
Ms Lawlor put it to the man that he never thought a homeless woman who was addicted to tablets would follow this case through. He rejected this suggestion, said nothing happened to the woman and that she was treated with nothing but respect by himself and his “two gentlemen friends”.
He accepted that he put her number in his phone alongside the word “slut”.