The fact that an alleged rape victim took a risk is of no relevance, a prosecutor has told a jury in the Central Criminal Court.
A Dublin man (aged 36) is accused of raping the university student he had met on the Tinder dating app. He has pleaded not guilty to rape at Kilmashogue Lane, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin on September 11, 2014.
On day four, evidence ended in the trial and Alex Owens SC gave the closing speech for the prosecution.
He told the jurors that they might question why the woman got into a car with a man she didn't know but told them: “You're not here to judge human behaviour. You're here to study the facts”.
He added: “People take risks. We all take risks. The law is there to protect people who take risks from predators.
“If you decide [the accused] is indeed a predator, the fact that she took a risk is of no relevance. The fact that she engaged with others on Tinder is of no relevance.”
The jury has heard evidence that the woman went onto Tinder the morning after the alleged rape. She spoke to six men in the 36 hours following her meeting with the accused.
Mr Owens said that she was trying to pretend the rape didn't happen and was trying to put it behind her.
He said there was evidence that the accused “has a nasty streak”, telling the jury: “He doesn't like to be crossed. He could behave badly if he was crossed”.
Michael Bowman SC, defending, told the jury he was “most concerned” by what Mr Owens had said in his closing.
“He suggests that we know there are people who exist out there who are controlling” and said Mr Owens was urging the jury to take a prejudiced view that “he was one of those people.”
He said this was “tantamount to suggesting that because you wear a short skirt you get what is coming to you”.
Mr Bowman will continue his closing speech tomorrow before Mr Justice Paul Butler. It is expected jury will begin it's deliberations tomorrow.
Earlier in the day Garda Ciaran Byrne gave evidence of two garda interviews with the accused after his arrest on September 19, 2014.
The man told gardaí that he had consensual sex with the woman and said her version of events was wrong. He said that before they met they had been sending texts back and forth over the phone dating app Tinder and then over the Whatsapp messaging app.
He said she seemed pretty keen to meet up and he found that unusual. He said a few days later, they arranged to meet but she cancelled it and he “got a bit thick” because he didn't believe her reason for cancelling.
He said she got thick with him but later she said “something like rowing had turned her on”, the accused said. She told him she was “all horny then” and it was a pity they hadn't met up.
They then started sexting or exchanging images of a sexual nature. They met in the coming days and went for a coffee in McDonalds.
The man said he then asked her if she wanted to go to the “Viewing Point” in the Dublin mountains “because we couldn't do anything there”.
Gardaí asked him if he said that or did she and he replied: “Nobody said it. It was implicit. We were meeting for a hook up.
“I hoped, from the message she had said. At the end of the day, it is Tinder and given she had said she was horny. Being a chancer I asked if she wanted to go up to viewpoint.
“In my mindset we were meeting to have sex - that wasn't necessarily going to happen. Ultimately I met not knowing something would happen but hoping and expecting it would. I suggested we go somewhere private.”
Asked why she would make an allegation of rape up, the accused told gardaí that the woman was annoyed with him because he had ejaculated inside her during sex without a condom.
He replied: “Coming in her. She wouldn't be happy and she thought I was an absolute prick.
“That started off the mood going sour between us. She didn’t tell me to pull out. I thought she was on the pill or something.”
The accused said: “I did no harm to that girl, I guarantee there is not a mark to that girl”. He said she had taken her own jeans off. He said if she had done this she would be “covered in bruises”.
He said that after he had ejaculated inside her “she wasn't impressed” and they had a “disagreement”.
“I would have been apologising. She said I thought you would have pulled out yourself,” he said. He said he wanted to hold her but felt “rejected by her”.
“I told her, 'you're a bit cold'. I was pissed off. I felt she was being rude”. She was saying 'you tricked me into having sex, you little shit'. The mood was sour.”
He said they continued talking as he drove her home, saying: “I imagine if someone had been raped, they would be in an absolute state of panic and fear”.
In his closing speech Mr Owens said the prosecution viewed the garda interviews by the accused as “self serving”. Both the accused and the complainant are entitled to anonymity throughout the trial.