Guilty verdict in false rape claim trial

A woman who admitted she had had consensual sex that was rougher than she expected in an underground carpark in Killarney, Co Kerry, was yesterday found guilty at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee of making a false report of rape and of wasting garda time.

The jury of nine women and three men took just under an hour to return the unanimous verdict at the end of a four-day trial in which the graphic ‘rape account’ was read to the jury.

The 14-page statement by the woman was made after she was given the standard statutory warning that any false statement could lead to prosecution, the trial heard.

Credibility was at the centre of the case in which the 26-year-old woman was accused of falsely claiming she was raped by a foreign man, a “Pakistani-looking” person, after a night out in Killarney, and the jury must be sure that she “knowingly” made the false claim, Jjudge Thomas O’Donnell said.

Jacinta O’Connor, of Steelroe, Killorglin, had denied “knowingly” making a false report that an offence had been committed and that she had wasted garda time, contrary to Section 12 (b) of the Criminal Law Act, 1976.

On the night of the 2014 All-Ireland final, O’Connor, who had been drinking a lot, went to the garda station at 4am and gave a detailed account of being raped by “a Pakistani-looking” man wearing a green hoodie , at the rear of the town’s court house.

Gardaí felt she was sober and calm when she made a detailed complaint at 4am. A female garda was summoned from Cahersiveen in the early hours and O’Connor was taken for medical examination to the South Infirmary in Cork. The next day, she made a formal lengthy statement describing in graphic and stark detail two vaginal rapes and one attempted anal rape by a man she said was wearing a green hoodie.

Gardaí launched an investigation and identified a man in a green hoodie, a Czech national, who was captured on CCTV walking behind O’Connor on Plunkett St at around 3.50am.

The man, was interviewed under caution and denied having any sexual contact with her. He handed over the green hoodie and samples.

However, by October 4, gardaí who took images from around 30 locations, felt they had spotted discrepancies in O’Connor’s account. She had not left the nightclub alone but was with an Irishman with receding hair. Shown the images on October 10, she withdrew her complaint and apologised. She did have consensual sex with the Irishman, whom she knew, and had not been raped by the man in the green hoodie.

The Irishman, Michael Ahern, aged 29, of Lake Rd, Cromane, Co Kerry, gave evidence that they had had a previous sexual relationship and, on that night, went to Scott’s underground carpark where they had had sex that was “a bit kinky”, but in no way violent and not enough to cause her injuries.

O’Connor has been remanded on bail to January. Probation and medical reports have been ordered by Judge O’Donnell at the request of Elizabeth Murphy, defending.


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