Young man acquitted of raping teenage friend while she slept at Kerry party

Both the defendant and the complainant were 18 years old at the time of the alleged rape
Young man acquitted of raping teenage friend while she slept at Kerry party

Seven women and five men of the jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork reached a unanimous verdict of not guilty on the single count of rape on November 25, 2017, when both defendant and complainant were 18 years old.

A young man accused of raping his friend when she was sleeping in a bed at a house party for teenagers in Kerry said she was the one who came on to him and that they had consensual sex after which they cuddled and laughed.

He was found not guilty.

Video evidence shown to the jury showed the complainant and others dancing with sweeping brushes in the kitchen the next morning.

Seven women and five men of the jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork reached a unanimous verdict of not guilty on the single count of rape on November 25, 2017, when both defendant and complainant were 18 years old.

The jury took two hours and 24 minutes to reach their unanimous verdict. Mr Justice Michael White exempted them from jury service for 10 years.

Prosecution case

The complainant testified: “My next memory was waking up in the middle of the night… I could feel him remove himself from me. At that time I did not know what it was. It was not painful but it was uncomfortable. I was kind of hoping it was nothing. When I saw my pants down I realised what had just happened.

“He had been talking very loudly behind me and woken me up. He was talking to someone in (other bed in the room). It seemed like he did not care – he was quite loud. It was like he was trying to wake me up. I asked him what he was doing?” 

She said he did not answer and walked away.

I felt safe. It was my bed… It never crossed my mind that someone would get into my bed like that… 

"My skirt was up and my tights and knickers were down to my knees. I pulled them up. I faced the wall and I cried. I did not know what to believe. I did not want it to happen.” 

Prosecution senior counsel Roisín Lacey said: “It is our position he got into her bed knowing she was asleep, knowing she had alcohol on board because he was talking to her earlier. He got into that bed not to sleep but to try his luck and take advantage of her when she slept, and he did.” 

Ms Lacey said that after the house party, the accused initiated Snapchat communication with the complainant and his first question was: “Do you remember what happened last night?” Ms Lacey asked if the accused was trying to suss out what she knew. 

The complainant’s view on the Snapchat communications was that “he was trying to convince himself and trying to silence me”. Ms Lacey said the defence suggested a possible motivation by the complainant to make the complaint was that she had a boyfriend and would not have wanted him to know if she had consensual sex with someone else.

Ms Lacey said of the accused man’s behaviour before and after the disputed rape that he was acting without boundaries, he was hyper, trying to kiss another girl, throwing make-up wipes around the place, rugby-tackling people and that all of this was inconsistent with the idea of someone just looking for a bed to bunk down for the night.

Case for the defence

Mark Nicholas SC for the defence told the jury: “The defendant told you (in four-and-a-half hours of interviews with gardaí) there was sexual intercourse – yes, that happened. 

"He says there was nothing wrong with it because of the way it happened (with consent). He also said, ‘she was the one who came on to me.’” 

Mr Nicholas said sharing beds was a function of a house party where 14 stayed and there were two double beds and two single beds. 

It was bed roulette. No one was getting a bed to themselves… 

"If a man goes upstairs in a predatory way to get into bed with someone that is a totally different scenario… (But in the situation at the house party) it is not quite Grand Central Station but it is not that different from it either,” the defence senior counsel said.

He said of the disputed incident: “It was a bit tawdry but it was not rape.” Mr Nicholas said the parties had joked a couple of years previously that they might get off with each other and there was “that kind of jokey frisson.” 

Video from a phone was shown to the jury of the complainant ‘brush dancing’ in the kitchen the following morning with other girls and seemed not to be distressed, according to the defence. She said under cross-examination: “It is shock – I don’t show my feelings a lot of the time.”

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