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Rape trial jury discharged after juror says others were 'slagging' him

The judge agreed to excuse him.

File
File
Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

A jury in a rape trial has been discharged after a black juror asked the judge to be excused from the panel because he said he felt uncomfortable around his fellow jurors.

A note was handed up to the registrar on behalf of the juror on the third day of the trial before the Central Criminal Court after the complainant had finished her testimony in the trial.

The jury was excused, the note was considered and the juror in question was asked to return to court by himself to explain why he wished to be excused from the trial. He had indicated on the note that it was for “personal reasons”.

The man, who was wearing sunglasses, told Ms Justice Eileen Creedon that he “didn’t quite have the right words to express it” but he felt that every day he was being “slagged” by the other jurors in terms of his clothes and the way he walked. He said he had tried to deal with it but it continued.

He agreed with a suggestion from Ms Justice Creedon that he “felt uncomfortable” serving on the panel. She agreed to excuse him.

Case

The accused man, a Pakistan national, had pleaded not guilty to a charge of rape and sexual assault on a Dublin beach on October 29, 2015.

Brendan Grehan SC, defending, asked for some time to consider the case based on what the juror had said.

After a short break he told Ms Justice Creedon that he had taken instructions from his client and it was his application that it would be “unsafe for the trial to proceed” and that the jury should be discharged.

Roisín Lacey SC, prosecuting, said her instructions from the Director of Public Prosecution was not to oppose the application.

Ms Justice Creedon, brought in the remaining jurors, three women and eight men, and discharged them. She adjourned the trial to next Monday when a new trial date will be set.

Ms Lacey told the jury in her opening address that the woman had met the accused in 2015 through an online dating site. She was about 25 years old at the time. They met a few times and had consensual sex on a few occasions.

There was a period when there was little communication between them but he got in contact again in October that year and they met up.

Ms Lacey told they jury it would hear evidence that the night previous to the alleged rape, the accused had tried to undo the woman’s bra when there had been consensual kissing but he stopped when she said no.

They met up again the following night and the woman told the jury that the accused undid her bra after she continually asked him not to.

“I said no, every step of the way. When he opened it I said no. When he went to take the straps off I said no,” the woman told the jury.

“He just kept doing it. At one stage he said “just enjoy it babe”,” she continued.

She said he then pulled down her jeans and raped her.

“It just happened so quick. He didn’t say anything. I remember the weight of him. My head being wedged against the door, a leg being pushed against the seats,” the woman told the jury.

She afterwards the accused drove her back to her own car and on the way she text her friend the word “emergency”.

Her friend asked her if she was safe and she replied that she didn’t know, “cause when I looked out the window all I could see was the sea”.

“He asked me if I was annoyed with him. I told him you just don’t force yourself on someone like that. He asked me if he could make it up to me,” the woman told the jury.

She said got into her car and drove straight to her friend’s home. She said at one point on the journey she realised that she had just driven through a red light. She said she later got texts from the accused asking her to please talk to him.

“He knew I was upset. I didn’t consent. I blatantly said ‘no’, ‘no’. I got a text from him saying ‘Don’t ignore me please,” the woman said.

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Sonya McClean

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