Tuesday 28 February 2017

Rapist is thrown out by judge for outburst in court

Isabel Hayes

Central Criminal Court (Stock photo)
Central Criminal Court (Stock photo)

A convicted rapist was removed from court during his sentence hearing after he tried to sack his barrister and called his victim, a grandmother in her fifties, a "filthy prostitute".

Richard O'Brien (57), of Arlington Lodge, Church Street, Tralee, Co Kerry, lured his victim to a caravan in Dublin before raping her, assaulting her and biting her during a sustained and vicious attack on March 19, 2011.

He then fled to the UK before being extradited in 2013. He was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of rape, attempted rape, false imprisonment and assault causing harm.

At the start of his sentence hearing at the Central Criminal Court, O'Brien told prosecution barrister Anne Rowland SC to "get her facts straight", before turning on his defence barrister Damien Colgan SC, and telling him: "On your bike".

After giving O'Brien several warnings, Mr Justice Tony Hunt ordered that he be removed from court. As he was led away, O'Brien turned towards his victim and verbally abused her.

The judge asked Mr Colgan to continue to represent O'Brien. He has already sacked at least one legal team and is "the client from hell", Mr Justice Hunt said.

Mr Justice Hunt adjourned the matter for two weeks. "This woman was beaten up as well as raped. It's a very bad set of facts," he said.

The judge also expressed concern at O'Brien's behaviour in court, saying "one gets a very real flavour" of his character. "This man, even in the context of the Central Criminal Court, appears to have difficulty restraining himself. That is very worrying," he said.

Garda Ruth Brett had outlined how the victim was in a Dublin pub when O'Brien offered to buy her a drink. He then invited her back to a house party, telling her it was his sister's birthday.

However, when the woman arrived at the house, she became uneasy and asked to get a taxi home. O'Brien invited her into a caravan at the back of the property, but once inside he told her: "There's no effing sister and there's no effing taxi either".

He then pushed her on to the bed, punched her repeatedly, bit her on the chest and neck and raped her. The woman fainted at one point during the attack, which went on for some time, the court heard. It ended only after two men entered the caravan and stopped O'Brien.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she had nightmares for five years. She said the attack led to the breakdown of her 23-year relationship.

Irish Independent

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