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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Jurors asked to consider if accused men 'really cared' whether alleged rape victim said no

The two men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Image: Shutterstock/Pierre-Olivier

TWO MEN ACCUSED of raping a woman after she “blacked out” at a party didn’t care that she wasn’t consenting and took advantage of her, prosecution counsel has told their trial.

Eilis Brennan SC said that a lack of concern for the woman shown by the two defendants outside of the bedroom was “highly indicative” of a lack of concern inside the room.

The jury at the Central Criminal Court trial has heard evidence that the first accused talked about getting the woman out of the flat and that other men at the party were invited to go into the bedroom and “chance a blowjob” and “try her”.

The prosecution case is that on two occasions during the night, the woman came to in a bedroom to find the defendants raping her.

Not guilty plea

The two Leitrim men have pleaded not guilty to rape in a flat in a town in the county on a date in 2017. The second accused also denies a charge of oral rape of the woman. The defendants and the complainant are now aged in their 20s and knew one another from school.

The jury began deliberations just after lunchtime yesterday and will resume on Monday morning.

In her closing speech to the jury, Brennan said that there was a view in the party that “this was a woman who was in the room, she was vulnerable, she was in position to be taken advantage of”.

The woman gave evidence that she heard laughter and heard men outside the bedroom saying, “you fucked her too, you get her out”.

Brennan told the jurors they were entitled to look at their behaviour outside the room when they consider whether they really cared whether she was saying no.

“Did they care, did they know she was drunk and unable to stand up for herself?” she said.

Party

The woman and the two men were drinking at a party in a pub in the town. The party moved to a flat and the first accused said he later had consensual sex with the woman there.

The second man said he then went into the bedroom and after some “small talk” he asked the woman for a “blowjob” and she consented to oral sex. The woman said she never consented and when she left the party alone she met her fiancé and told him that at least two men had raped her.

In her evidence the woman agreed with Conor Devally SC, defending, that she felt demeaned by words she heard being said outside the bedroom and agreed they made her feel “worthless, there to be used”.

Devally told the jury that the complainant consented to sex with his client but was later upset by the behaviour afterwards of “immature lads behaving poorly” outside the bedroom. He said she felt “sullied by mockery” and said “it is quite reasonable that [she] would condemn the entire night as a fiasco”.

“She is feeling like her self-esteem has being absolutely trashed,” he said. He submitted that as a result she “reconstructed” the night so that it was maintained that she had no time earlier for his client.

He said this is understandable but it wasn’t true. He said others at the party testified that they were chatting and flirting and that she touched his leg.

He said they were seen dancing really close and one witness said she was “grinding up against him”. In cross-examination the complainant said she didn’t remember any of this.

He said when the woman got to the party she put her bag into his client’s bedroom. He said this was evidence that she intended to stay in that room and was “staking it out”.

The woman had testified that she didn’t know everyone at the party and put the bag there for safekeeping.

Counsel said his client “couldn’t deal with” the woman telling him she loved him during sex and this is why he wanted her out of the flat.

He said the jury could not dismiss the possibility that “this is a young fella that doesn’t know how to handle” a more mature woman and not a rapist who wanted rid of his victim.

Colm Smyth SC, defending the second accused, said that the prosecution case that the complainant was “comatose” and unable to give consent was a “spin” on the evidence. He said that no witness saw her in an incapacitated state or out of control.

He said the woman herself said she had not had “a great quantity of drink”. He said at the party she “squared up” to a man because people were laughing at her dancing.

“If you were so near to comatose how would you have the sense to know you were being sneered at? She was in full control of her faculties,” Smyth said.

He said the woman never scratched his client’s face and never sought to leave the flat in terror.

When confronted with the allegations this defendant told gardaí they were “bullshit” and untrue. He said the woman had consented to oral sex and had pushed her hand down into his trousers and grabbed his penis.

Counsel said if her DNA had been found inside his client’s trousers, that would support his account but they were never tested because gardaí failed to seize them. He said the garda investigation was below the proper standard and he accused one detective of lying.

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Declan Brennan

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