Court dismisses Cork man’s rape conviction appeal

A man jailed for raping a woman in Cork four years ago has failed to have his conviction declared “perverse”.

George Arundel, aged 27, of Shannonlawn, Mayfield, Cork City, pleaded not guilty to attempted rape, sexual assault, rape, and false imprisonment at Tinker’s Field, Tinker’s Cross, Cork City on May 23 2011.

He was found guilty by a jury on all counts at a Cork sitting of the Central Criminal Court and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by Mr Justice Paul Carney on June 8, 2012.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Arundel’s application yesterday to set aside his conviction on grounds that the jury’s verdict was against the weight of evidence and perverse. He also lost an appeal against the sentence.

Giving background to the case, Mr Justice John Edwards said the injured party’s account of what happened was that at 9pm on the night in question, she had gone to an off-license to buy cigarettes and alcohol.

Having moved outside she was approached from behind by a man who said “you’re keeping me company ton-ight”. She was dragged to a nearby field, forced to sit on the ground, and made repeated attempts to escape but was overpowered.

Arundel attempted to rape the woman but her legs were crossed, Mr Justice Edwards said. He then forced her to perform oral sex on him before the woman overpowered Arundel and made her way to a nearby public house.

Arundel’s counsel, Blaise O’Carroll SC, submitted that there were inconsistencies in the woman’s evidence and the jury’s verdict was against the weight of evidence and “perverse”.

Arundel’s complaints included confusion over the specific location of the offence, confusion over whether the woman returned to the scene of the crime and that there were contradictory accounts of her attempted escape.

Another complaint concerned the woman’s inability to make any credible explanation of how Arundel was able to grab the woman and drag her whilst holding two one-litre bottles of cider.

However, Mr Justice Edwards said evidence showed that the bottles came in packaging bound together with tape and a handle.

A similar complaint was made regarding eight cans of larger the woman herself was carrying and how they travelled safely with her to the field. However, the evidence was that the cans came in two separate packs secured with plastic ties and the woman said she dropped them during an escape attempt, the judge said.

The Court of Appeal agreed “entirely” that if there were any inconsistencies it was a matter for the jury, Mr Justice Edwards said. He said there was substantial consistency in the woman’s testimony.

Mr Justice Edwards consequently dismissed the appeal.

Arundel had also appealed his sentence on grounds that the judge failed to take account of his mitigating circumstances: His age, drug addiction and the “multiplicity of problems that he had”.

Mr O’Carroll said Arundel came from a particularly difficult background. None of his previous convictions had elements of violence and the offence for which he was convicted was “completely out of character”.

Mr Justice Edwards said the court was not satisfied that there had been an error in principle in the sentencing process and returned Arundel to prison.


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