Trio offered lift to girls before picking up alleged victim

The trial of three men accused of taking part in a gang rape has heard they offered a lift to some girls earlier in the night before picking up their alleged victim.

Three Cork cousins, aged 15, 16, and 19 at the time, are accused of raping the woman after offering her a lift home and driving her down a country lane. The men cannot be named for legal reasons.

The jury previously heard evidence that the youngest had sex with the woman first, followed by the then 16-year-old. The eldest accused told gardaí he went into the back of the van after the other two and attempted to have sex with her.

The three men, now aged 19, 19, and 21, have all pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to three charges each, namely the oral rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault of a woman at an unknown location in Cork on Sept 13, 2009.

One of the men has pleaded guilty to stealing the woman’s car from outside her home on the night.

Charges of vaginal rape against all three accused were dropped earlier in the trial because of the complainant’s evidence

Evidence has now ended in the trial and the jury will hear closing speeches from both prosecution and defence counsel on Monday.

They will likely begin their deliberations on Tuesday after being charged by Mr Justice Paul Carney.

On the sixth day of the trial the eldest accused told Patrick McCarthy, prosecuting, that earlier in the evening the group approached a group of four drunken girls in the city and asked them to get into the van for a spin. The court heard that the girls wouldn’t get in.

The accused, who was the owner of the white van, said he had a single mattress in the back of the van because he sometimes slept there. He denied kitting the van out for the purposes of going out that evening.

He said that when he got into the back of the van with the complainant she was naked. He said he doesn’t know if the woman’s clothes were forcibly removed or how she sustained bruising all over her body.

He said he lay on top of her but she pushed him away. He asked her why she would not have sex with him when she “did it” with his cousins.

He said they had been kissing and that his penis was out and erect when he lay on her.

He told counsel that he lied initially to gardaí when asked who was driving his van but denied that lying came easy to him.

He said that he lied about this before admitting it later because his 16-year-old cousin was driving without a licence.

Mr Justice Carney told the jury the fact that a defendant tells a lie is not proof of their guilt.

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