Tuesday 21 January 2020

Chaotic scenes in court as two men found guilty of sexual assault

Declan Brennan

TWO Cork men have being found guilty of taking part in a rape three years ago when they were aged 16 and 18.



The men picked up a woman who was drunk and separated from her friends, drove her down a country lane and tried to have sex with her on a mattress in the back of their van.



The older man was described as saying “hurry on, give me a lash” at one stage during the attack.



A third man, who was aged 15 at the time, was found not guilty of all charges.



The guilty men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be sentenced in January.



There were chaotic scenes when the verdicts were announced as the accused’s family members shouted that their sons were innocent and that the acquitted man “was the one that did everything”.



Mr Justice Paul Carney had a two of those who disrupted the court remanded in custody until tomorrow morning.



The three men, now aged 19, 19 and 21 had all pleaded not guilty to four charges each of rape, attempted rape, oral rape and sexual assault of a woman at an unknown location in Cork on Sept 13, 2009.



The oldest accused was found guilty of sex assault and attempted rape but not guilty of oral rape.



The other man sobbed as the jury found him guilty of sex assault, oral rape and attempted rape. Before the trial he entered a plea of guilty to stealing the woman's car from outside her home on the night.



The victim, now aged 34, was drunk after a night out with friends and doesn't remember how she ended up in the back of the van.



The men said they offered her a lift and then drove down a nearby “country lane” where they took turns getting into the back of the van with her and asking for sex.



In her evidence she said that one man attempted to rape her and another orally raped her and that she was assaulted and sexually assaulted. She could not identify her attackers except to say they had “Traveller accents”.



She was left with cuts and bruises on all her limbs, her chest and her back.



After a nine day trial the jury of seven women and five men took just under three hours to return unanimous verdicts.



Mr Justice Carney ordered the two men be declared sex offenders and remanded them in custody until a sentencing date in January.



He added: “From what I've heard in this court over the last two weeks nobody convicted is going to avoid a substantial custodial sentence by virtue of the Children's Act.”



He then thanked the jury for their service and excused them from jury service for life.

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