Rape case rights ‘set up as competition’

The head of the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) said a conversation of “competition” developed around the Belfast rape trial.

“In the last number of weeks, as we’ve watched the Belfast trial, a conversation has sort of been set up around the rights of the defendant and the rights of the complainant,” said Clíona Saidléar, director of the RCNI.

“What often is portrayed in that, is that it’s a competition — if you give complainant rights, you take them away from the defence. This isn’t the case.”

The RCNI launched a report yesterday, ‘Hearing Every Voice’, which outlines 33 actions that would improve the legal process.

“This report really looks into how we can improve and maximise the support and protection of the complainant in a case without in any way impacting on the rights of the defendant,” she said.

“Oftentimes it’s set up as a competition. It is not a competition between the defence and the witness.”

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