Thursday 8 December 2016

Rape victim seeks control of €17k awarded to her attacker by court

Aodhan O'Faolain

Published 10/11/2016 | 16:30

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

A RAPE victim is seeking control over a €17,000 court award made to her attacker, the High Court heard.

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The woman, who was orally raped as she walked home by Darius Savickis, wants orders freezing a €17,225 award made to him pending her own civil action for damages against him.

The award was made by the Court of Appeal last month to Savickis over an assault on him by a prison officer while he was serving his sentence for the rape in Castlerea Prison.

That court increased an €225 (225) award to him by a jury at the High Court.

Savickis (46), a father of two originally from Lithuania, was serving a six-year sentence at the time after he had pleaded guilty in July 2009 to orally raping the then 23-year-old woman walking home from work in Galway on November 28, 2005.

On Thursday (Nov 10),  Mr Justice Paul Gilligan was told by Conor Power SC, for the woman , she has initiated an action against Savickis seeking damages for injuries she suffered in the attack.

She also suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder over what happened to her. 

Counsel said Savickis had been released from prison after completing his sentence, but his client and her lawyers did not know where he currently is. 

Counsel said his client wanted a freezing order put over the award to Savickis until the her civil action has been determined.

If the High Court was to find in the woman' s favour and award her damages, she feared that the sum awarded to Savickis could be dissipated, counsel said.

Correspondence from lawyers representing Savickis state the action will be opposed on grounds including the claim is statue barred.

Mr Justice Gilligan granted the woman's lawyers permission to serve short notice of the proceedings on Savickis. Permission was granted on an ex parte (one party only represented) basis.  The matter comes back next week.

Delivering the three judge appeal court's decision increasing the award to Savickis,  Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said some of the Castlerea Prison officers who gave evidence in the jury civil action taken by Darius Savickis had regrettably "told lies".  

That court found that some months into his sentence he was involved in an incident in which he refused to go out to the exercise yard because he wasn't wearing a socks or jumper.  

He held on to a rail and a prison officer put him in a headlock while four or five other officers moved in and prised him from the railings to totally subdue him.

Mr Justice Hogan said it was clear from the CCTV evidence Mr Savickis did not attempt to strike out at the officers, but did no more than cling to the railing.  

It was clear, the judge said, as he was being subdued he was struck some three or four times with punches to the chest by a particular officer.

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