Monday 20 February 2017

Rape victims don't need to be put in the dock to get a 'fair trial'

Published 11/08/2015 | 02:30

Sexual experience evidence is only supposed to be introduced when it’s deemed imperative for the defence, but a study by Senator Ivana Bacik above, revealed that it was allowed in 70pc of the cases that she examined
Sexual experience evidence is only supposed to be introduced when it’s deemed imperative for the defence, but a study by Senator Ivana Bacik above, revealed that it was allowed in 70pc of the cases that she examined

Last week we learned it is possible for a rapist to be convicted and receive a lengthy sentence - but the price can be the character assassination of a traumatised victim in court.

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Martin Stokes's victim was only 14 when she met him walking along a rural road. She was alone, on her way to a friend's house, but he persuaded her to go into a field. He raped her there in the dirt. When she tried to resist, he told her he wasn't going to stop until he was finished.

When Stokes (24), from Corkhill, Kinnegad, in Westmeath, was arrested, he denied knowing the girl or being in the vicinity at the time of the attack. DNA evidence and the testimony of 10 witnesses, all of who saw him in the area, contradicted his lies. His own credibility clearly in tatters, Stokes's defence at his trial was another attack on his victim. The law helped him do it.

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