A Laois barman who said he “wasn't sure” if he raped a woman because he was so drunk has been jailed for five years.
The 23-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the victim's identity, raped the sleeping woman while another person was in the room, Dublin Central Criminal Court heard. He then said “thank you” and left.
He pleaded guilty to the rape of the woman in the county in January 2013.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy imposed a seven-year sentence with the final two years suspended. He also handed down a two year post-release supervision order and ordered the man be registered as a sex offender.
Remy Farrell SC, prosecuting, told the court that several people were at a house in the early hours of the morning drinking and watching television. The accused was sitting beside the woman and kept putting his hand on her leg, but she wasn't interested and moved it away.
At 7am some of the group went upstairs to bed, while three people, including the rapist and victim, went to sleep on the sofas downstairs.
The woman later woke up to find the man on top of her raping her. She tried to push him off and said “stop” two or three times while he kept telling her to “shush”.
She eventually pushed him off and he got up, said “thank you” and left. The woman later told gardaí she was “nearly sure” the other man in the room saw the rape. She said she mouthed “help me” to him several times.
This other man drove her home after the incident. He told gardaí he was awake at the time but didn't know if the man and woman were having sex. He said he thought he heard her say “stop” but assumed this was because she was worried he would hear them.
He said after a while he said “stop” because he was embarrassed. He was later asked by a friend if a rape had occurred and he said no because he believed the victim would have shouted out if she was being attacked.
The following month the rapist was arrested. He admitted having sex but said he did not know if it was consensual because he was so drunk. He said he had been “on the drink” for several days prior.
Defence counsel Paul Green SC said his client was very remorseful and was now off alcohol. He said it was horrendous and frightening that the accused felt he was entitled to take advantage of the woman but submitted he “was on an absolute binge at the time”.