The defence lawyer in a rape trial said the accused man walking away from a woman in a laneway after consensual sex may have been ungentlemanly but that was not what the jury had to decide.
Defence senior counsel Barry White said:
He might not have been a gentleman on the night walking away but he is not being tried for not being a gentleman or for being a cad. He is being tried for rape.
Tim O’Leary prosecution senior counsel said in relation to the end of the contact between the two parties behind the van in the laneway in Cork city: “At the end of all this he just walks away. It is not consensual in the way of (him saying), ‘take my hand, I will bring you back to your friends or to your house’,”
Mr O’Leary SC said what happened instead was the defendant simply walked away and left her in the laneway to be found by gardaí in a distressed state afterwards.
Mr O’Leary said that a witness from an apartment overlooking the lane rang gardaí. “Something caused her to say, there is a problem here,” he said.
The prosecution senior counsel said there was evidence of her being highly intoxicated and that she could have been in an even worse condition when the defendant encountered her. Mr O’Leary challenged the defendant’s comments to gardaí that what happened was consensual.
“If she was that drunk she could not consent. He knew or did not care about whether or not she was consenting. At the time she did not consent and he knew she was not consenting or was reckless.
“He saw his chance down the laneway in behind the back of the van on the ground. And then walking away… He said vaginal and oral sex happened and in both cases it was by consent.”
Regarding the complainant’s lack of memory about what happened to her, Mr O’Leary SC said: “She is a witness, she is not the state’s case. She is not the case in and of itself.”
Closing his address he suggested the only reason the accused went behind the van down the lane with the complainant was, “so he would not be caught.”
Barry White defence senior counsel said it was farcical of the prosecution to suggest the defendant was down the lane to avoid CCTV cameras when he was seen on camera entering and leaving the lane.
Mr White said the complainant was on release from hospital where she was being treated for a mental condition but was given permission to “join with friends to engage in the revelries in Cork”.
Mr White said the prosecution did not call evidence to explain the nature of her condition and the effect of medication and so forth. He said there were a lot of things missing from the prosecution without explanation.
“The number of whys are mounting up, they must be in double figures. Why have we not got this? Why have we not got the other? It all goes back to the mindset of An Garda Síochána – we have our interviews and the jury don’t need any more, they can make do with that,” Mr White SC said.
Mr White characterised the accused as naïve and innocent. “He was offered the assistance of a solicitor. He declined it. He naively said I don’t need to because I am innocent. That is the personality you are dealing with… You have a naïve young man being open, frank and honest. He is not coming in here to pull the wool over your eyes.”
Referring to the CCTV he said, “There is no question of her stumbling or falling all over the place and him holding her up.”
Mr White complained that the video evidence on the lane did not continue from when the defendant left until the gardaí arrived. “Did anyone else come down the lane? Did anyone else have intercourse with her? We do not know. There should be footage and we have not seen it. That should cause you to stop and say I don’t like the smell of this case.”
The defendant who is in his twenties denies two counts of raping the young woman on February 17, 2017 in a laneway in Cork city, once by having sexual intercourse with her and once by putting his penis in her mouth.
A jury of four women and eight men will commence their deliberations tomorrow when Mr Justice Alexander Owens completes his speech to them at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.