The jury in the case against a man accused of raping a woman who died a year later will resume deliberations tomorrow. Closing speeches were made at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork today.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt referred to eyewitness evidence that the defendant allegedly smashed a wine bottle and held it to the woman’s neck before the sexual activity at the centre of the case. The defendant denied breaking the bottle or threatening the woman in any way and said the sex was consensual. In terms of considering the evidence, Mr Justice Hunt said: “The bottle is the gateway to everything.”
The judge later added: “But the use of the bottle is not the be all and end all. You have to be satisfied that the consent was absent.”
Mr Justice Hunt said the jury must deliberate on reaching unanimous guilty or not guilty verdicts on each of the six counts. The accused man denies all six charges against him, namely two counts of rape, one by sexual intercourse and a second by placing his penis in her mouth on January 14, 2017.
He also denies three charges of aggravated sexual assault by threat of violence by the production of a broken wine bottle and a sixth count of production of a weapon to intimidate, namely a broken wine bottle. The main prosecution evidence was from a man who was present in the room during part of the disputed incident. He described what happened as rape and that the woman was degraded by the man.
The witness said: “He (the defendant) lunged and caught her by the throat, he broke the bottle off the side of the bed and stuck it to her throat,” he said.
The witness also said that when some of his medication went missing and it appeared that the woman had taken it, the defendant said she would have to give the witness a “blow job”. He said when he did not want sex the defendant then told her she would have to give him (the defendant) a “blow job”.
Defence senior counsel, Blaise O’Carroll, said during cross examination of the witness:
The broken bottle is a figment of your imagination. Getting her to give you a blow job, that is another figment of your imagination.
The witness disagreed.
Alice Fawsett, prosecution senior counsel, suggested that the defendant said to the woman at one stage: “People like you should be cut up and put in a suitcase.”
This was denied by the accused who said the 30-year-old woman told him he would be sorry for dumping her after sex. The accused told the judge and jury: “We walked up the road together. It would have been a case of ‘right, good luck.’ She said ‘you had sex with me and now you are dumping me. You will pay for this.’ Now two years later I am sitting in the box paying for it,” the accused said.
“My life, my name, everything is on the line. I did not do what I am accused of. No matter what verdict comes back I am innocent.”