The young Kerry man who denied raping his best friend’s sister as she slept in her family home was found guilty by a 10-1 majority verdict of the seven-man and four-woman jury today.
The jurors heard evidence in the case throughout last week at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork and deliberated for three days on their verdict. One juror was discharged by agreement of both sides.
The 11 jurors finally returned to court shortly before 5pm today to deliver their verdict. They had been deliberating for 12 hours and 10 minutes across the three days.
In the socially distanced arrangements in Courtroom 4 the tension was broken with a single hand-clap and a gasp of "Yes" from the back of the room when the guilty verdict was delivered.
The complainant was hugged by her father as she wept in the back row of the court. Her mother and brother were also present. The defendant has been her brother’s best friend.
Acknowledging the guilty verdict the accused young man nodded to his parents who were present today as they had been throughout the trial.
Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty remanded the accused in custody for sentencing at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Dublin on December 4. When prosecution senior counsel Vincent Heneghan asked for the remand in custody, defence senior counsel Michael Bowman did not contest the application and said of the accused, “His status has changed.”
The defendant, who is now 25 and was 23 at the time, denied a charge of rape - that on June 10, 2018, he had sexual intercourse with the complainant without her consent. She was aged around 20.
The young woman said the defendant had been like a brother. But she testified that on the night in June two years ago he raped her.
He told gardaí that he did not have sexual intercourse with her at all but he did perform consensual oral sex on her after consensual sexual contact.
She testified: “I woke up and (name) was behind me. His penis was in my vagina from behind. He was going back and forth really slowly as if he did not want me to wake up. I pulled myself together and turned around and told him to get out of the room.
“He put his head on the pillow pretending to be asleep… I said get out of my f***ing room. He got up and left.”
The accused chose not to testify but in a memo of his interview with gardaí he said: “I went in to (name) room where I turned on the light. I asked could I stay the night with her. She said, ‘Yeah, ok'."
He said that he started feeling her breasts and rubbing her vagina and that she started feeling his penis, she opened her legs and he started performing oral sex on her for two or three minutes.
He said he put his penis against her vagina but that she was not aroused. He said he got up shortly after this, put on his clothes, found an empty bedroom and slept until 10am.
When this version of events was put to the complainant earlier in the trial she said, “No, no, no, no, that is not how it went.”