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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 22 January, 2020

Black lace thong held up in the Dáil as TD raises controversial rape trial comments

TD Ruth Coppinger said it was time for ‘rape myths’ to be dispelled with in court cases,


A BLACK LACE thong was held up in the Dáil today by a TD raising the controversial comments about the underwear of a woman in a rape trial.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions today, Solidarity–People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger said it was time for ‘rape myths’ to be dispelled with in court cases, and called for more training for the legal profession. 

The cameras in the Dail chamber quickly cut away from Coppinger when she raised the thong in the air. The use of any prop is against the rules of the Dáil.

A protest is to be held in Cork after concerns were expressed rape victim support groups over the closing argument comments in a Cork Circuit Criminal Court case. The counsel for the defence mentioned to the jury that the 17-year-old complainant was wearing a thong.

“Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone,” Elizabeth O’Connell SC is reported as stating in court, adding:

“You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.”

Coppinger said this sort of rhetoric in rape trials needs to end. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the whole issue needs to be examined, adding that a review is already underway into the evidence offered at trial and the procedures adopted in such trials. 

He said he wanted to be clear that nobody asks to be raped and it is never the victim’s fault no matter what they wear, drink or where they go. 

Comments have been closed to ongoing court proceedings.

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