A Central Criminal Court jury has acquitted a man of raping a woman on a first date after they met on Tinder.
The Dublin man, 35, was alleged to have raped the university student in his car after driving her up to the Dublin Mountains. He pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape at Kilmashogue Lane, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin on September 11, 2014.
On day seven of the trial, the jury of six men and six women returned a verdict of not guilty after just over four hours of deliberations.
The man responded by pressing his hands together in a praying gesture and saying: “Thank you, thank you so much”. A female cousin began crying and hugged him.
A female juror also began crying and the complainant burst into tears and was comforted by her parents in the back of the courtroom.
Mr Justice Paul Butler said the man was free to go on this matter but Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, said that the defendant was in custody on other matters.
After the jury left the court the defendant singled out one of the investigating gardaí and shouted: “You stitch up scumbag. I'll get you again. You stitch up cunt”. He was then led away by prison officers.
The jury heard that the two met up days after they began communicating on the Tinder dating app and they went for a drive together. The complainant alleged that the defendant drove them to an unlit country road.
The man told gardaí that they had consensual sex without a condom. He suggested that she made the allegation of rape because she was annoyed at him after he ejaculated inside her instead of “pulling out”.
The court heard that in the 36 hours after the alleged rape, the woman chatted with six men on Tinder. She told one of them she had “a naughty side”.
Michael Bowman SC, defending, told the jury that the evidence that the woman was distressed after the date meant nothing.
“Was she equally as upset when she was texting on Tinder? Is she as distressed as she presents to the outside world?” he said.
The jury heard evidence that texts to and from the accused on Tinder and Whatsapp were deleted.
He also suggested that gardaí failed to cross-reference her texts on Tinder with the statement made to gardaí and that had these deleted texts been irretrievable, the accused would be convicted “in a heart beat”.
The man told detectives that he met her for “a hook up” and expected “something would happen”.
In her evidence the woman said that the pair agreed to meet for “a spin and a coffee” and he suggested they drive up to a “viewing point” in the mountains.
She said that after a brief kissing session she asked him to “take it easy”. He said to her, “What the fuck do you think we're here for?”
She told him she didn't want a “one night stand” and got out of his car after he told her to “get the fuck out”. He drove off and she tried to ring a friend but there was no signal.
The car disappeared from sight but returned a few minutes later. The man told her “it's grand, get in” and she got in because she felt she didn't have a choice. She said she didn't know where she was and he seemed a bit calmer.
He drove the car back to where they had been and he stopped the car. He turned off the car lights and they were in complete darkness, she said.
He began kissing her again and she told him to take it easy. He leaned over and pulled a lever to drop her seat back and moved quickly to get on top of her before raping her.
She said she told him to stop but she was afraid he was going to “beat the shit out of me” and she eventually stopped resisting.