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Man who raped woman while she was sleeping jailed for five and a half years

In her victim impact statement, the woman said that what happened “completely destroyed” what was supposed to be an exciting time in her life.

LAST UPDATE | 7 Feb 2022

A MAN WHO raped a sleeping woman while another man kissed her has been jailed for five and a half years.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of the victim, pleaded guilty to rape at a provincial town in Ireland on 26 May 2018.

His previous convictions include burglary, violent disorder and production of articles in course of a dispute.

Passing sentence today, Justice Tony Hunt said he was “continuously surprised” by the prevalence of these types of offences.

Justice Hunt said it is “really surprising” that there seems to be “a significant body of opinion” that it is appropriate to have sexual intercourse with someone who is asleep.

The judge said he cannot imagine how people think this is the right way to proceed and that “it simply defies belief”.

He said the case was aggravated by the victim being asleep, by the offence happening in front of another person and the effect it has had on the victim.

The judge said the case was mitigated by the guilty plea which was accompanied by a written expression of remorse and an intention to rehabilitate. He also took into account the accused man’s personal history.

He said he would impose a conditional suspension of part of the sentence to incentivise further rehabilitation and address risk factors. He told the accused he wanted him to understand if there is any breach not accompanied by a proper explanation, the man will go back to prison.

Justice Hunt sentenced the man to six years and nine months imprisonment, but suspended the final 15 months of the sentence on strict conditions, including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for 12 months and not make any contact with the victim.

In her victim impact statement, which was read out in court, the woman said that what happened “completely destroyed” what was supposed to be an exciting time in her life.

The woman said she was traumatised after the offence and felt “powerless and used”. She said she was afraid of people finding out what happened and some of her relationships with family or friends were lost.

She said that she was told there was going to be a trial and that she would have to explain the incident to strangers while the accused was in the room. She said she felt like she was the one being charged, that she had done something wrong.

The woman said flashbacks of the offence worsened as the trial neared and her GP diagnosed her as suffering from PTSD. She said the incident hanging over her and the pending court process “completely overshadowed lovely times for me and my family”.

She said she never gave permission for this to happen to her and does not want these memories to live with her forever.

A local detective garda told Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, that at the time of the offence, the victim had returned to her hometown to further her career.

The detective said that on the evening in question, the victim went with several of her friends to a bar in which the accused man was also present. The group returned to the flat of one of the victim’s friends and the accused man arrived with other men a short time later.

The victim went to sleep after most of the people had left the flat. She woke to find the accused man raping her while another man kissed her and told her it was okay.

She complained loudly to her friend and was able to leave the flat. She reported the matter to gardaí who were able to identify the accused man and his DNA was found on her clothes.

The detective told the court that the other man involved in the incident has died in the interim period since the offence.

He agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that his client identified himself on CCTV footage and acknowledged that he was present at the apartment. He agreed that the accused told gardaí he had been invited back to the apartment and claimed he had consensual sex.

The detective agreed that this offence was of a very different nature to the man’s previous offending. He agreed with counsel that his client has lost family members to drug difficulties while he was in custody.

Bowman said his client was a very young man at the time of the offence and had not had “a normal upbringing”. He said his client was introduced to narcotics through his mother and began taking cannabis aged 12.

Counsel said his client has written a letter of apology, in which he says he hopes the incident does not ruin the life of the victim and that she can move on.

He said his client has three children and his own father has recently re-entered his life. He asked the court to reflect in its sentence the value of his client’s guilty plea.