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Rape case woman 'traumatised' by trial arrest - group

The Rape Crisis Network has criticised a judge’s handling of a case in which a woman was reportedly arrested during her alleged attackers’ trial.

Image: infomatique via Flickr

THE RAPE CRISIS Network have criticised gardaí and legal professionals after a woman was reportedly arrested during the trial of three men she accused of raping her.

The advocacy group said it was “unacceptable” and disturbing that a vulnerable witness had been treated in this way. The woman was arrested at hospital after failing to turn up at the court proceedings and reportedly taking an overdose.

She spent a day in the cells of the Four Courts before the trial continued, the Guardian reports.

“This case shows that there is an urgent need for all of the professionals involved in this rape case to examine their knowledge of sexual violence issues, and their own decision making in this area,” RCNI director Fiona Neary said.

Yesterday the Sunday Independent reported that the woman was required to identify the three accused while standing in front of them. She was due to continue on the witness stand the next morning but did not appear, at which point the trial judge issued a warrant for her arrest.

A jury acquitted the three accused last week.

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The RCNI criticised the handling of the case, saying that such actions would not help elicit the best evidence from witnesses in rape cases.

“There is a need to look at increasing knowledge and understanding of sexual violence issues generally within the justice profession,” Neary said. “Standards must include handling cases of this nature with sensitivity, empathy and compassion.”

She added that it was important that the case was “never repeated”.

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Michael Freeman

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