Wednesday 21 August 2019

DNA of man accused of raping woman with Down syndrome matches sample found on her body

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Declan Conlon

The DNA of a man accused of raping a woman with Down syndrome matches DNA taken from semen found on the woman.

Marce Lee-Gorman of Forensic Science Ireland said the likelihood of the DNA belonging to someone other than the accused was one in 1,000,000,000.

The accused has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape, sexual assault and having sex with a mentally impaired person at his Dublin home on June 12, 2013.

The trial has heard that the woman, who is in her twenties, became separated from her mother while they were out walking. The accused man met her and took her back to his home where the alleged rape took place.

Another forensics expert, Bridget Fleming, testified that fibres found on the woman's clothes were an extremely strong match for fibres from the man's bedclothes.

Semen was found in the woman's vagina and on her genitals and underwear when she was checked by forensic clinical examiner Aideen Walsh hours after the alleged attack.

Ms Walsh told Caroline Biggs SC, prosecuting, that a small laceration consistent with recent sexual intercourse was found on the woman's vagina. The woman told her she had never had sex before that day.

Ms Walsh agreed with Padraic Dwyer SC, defending, that the presence of a laceration was not evidence that sex was not consensual.

Last Friday the trial heard transcripts of three garda interviews conducted in the days after the alleged rape in which the man denied ever meeting her or having sex with her.

The accused now admits there was some sexual contact with the woman but maintains that it was consensual and that he didn't know she was mentally impaired.

Prosecuting counsel Lorcan Staines BL read out the transcript of a fourth and final garda interview which took place shortly after the woman failed to identify the man in an identity parade. The man denied he had ever seen the woman before.

Garda Colleen Doherty asked him about the appearance of the woman, saying “The girl who came in tonight. She looked a little bit different in the face?”

After a translator explained what he was being asked, the man said “I don't know because I'm not a doctor. Yes she stand far from me. I don't feel anything about her. I don't know about this. What is she, what is she not”.

Garda Neil Fogarty asked whether the man understood the term consent or thought the woman would be in a position to grant it. He replied “I can't say anything about anybody. I can't say anything about it”.

Gda Fogarty asked him what he would say “when your DNA turns up”. He replied “when they come, then we'll see, what they come up.” Gda Fogarty asked again “how can you say then it wasn't you?” The transcript recorded that the man shrugged.

Asked about his claim that he often had sex with women he met in the street, the man said “here everybody has a choice. Some talk to boys, some talk to girls”.

“If that person wants to talk to you, they will talk to you. If not they will walk away,” he said.

Mr Dwyer asked Gda Fogarty if had been aware that some women had come forward to say that a man matching the accused's description had approached them in the street and asked for sex. Gda Fogarty replied that he was not aware of the complaints at the time.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of six men and six women.

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