Sentencing in false rape case set for January

A woman who gave a detailed account of a rape in what later transpired to be consensual sex, after becoming separated from friends on the night of the 2014 All-Ireland Football final, will be sentenced in January, the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee was told.

A foreign national had been close to arrest on foot of her complaint at 4am in Killarney Garda Station of being pursued by a man with a green hoodie, it emerged yesterday, and gardaí had spent up to four weeks investigating the detailed complaint. The suspect had his home searched and clothes confiscated.

Jacinta O’Connor, now aged 27, of of Steelroe, Killorglin, Co Kerry, claimed the man who pursued her was “Pakastani-looking”.

A car park scene at the rear of the town courthouse was sealed off and Ms O’Connor had been taken for a thorough examination to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the South Infirmary in Cork, where she was found to have sustained injuries.

O’Connor made a lengthy statutory declaration and graphic account of the alleged rape to gardaí. A four-week Garda investigation ensued. CCTV footage was inspected and a man, a Czech national, with a green hoodie and foreign complexion identified walking behind her on the street. Gardaí obtained a warrant and searched his apartment and took away clothing.

“He was close to being arrested,” Sgt Leo Randles told prosecutor Tom Rice at the sentencing hearing yesterday.

“Fortunately” he was not, as further CCTV footage showed Ms O’Connor in the company of “very much a native gentleman, white, Caucasian,” the sergeant agreed with Mr Rice.

The Kerry man and Ms O’Connor had had consensual sex in the car park, it emerged.

Ms O’Connor retracted her allegation after seeing the CCTV footage, but was arrested and charged under the Criminal Law Act. A jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict after a four-day trial in November 2016 during which O’Connor had denied “knowingly” making a false report of a rape and wasting Garda time.

The foreign national who “was in the frame” falsely, has since left Ireland, the court was told.

Elizabeth Murphy, defending, said there had been “a confluence of events”, her client has now given up alcohol, has changed her friends and has since got married. She works now as a secretary in a community organisation.

Remarking that “the reality is she brazened it out and that cannot be lost sight of”, Judge O’Donnell said there had been a trial, she had denied the allegation and “she put someone in the frame”.

He adjourned judgment until January 15, to study lengthy probation service and psychiatric reports.

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