Saturday 25 November 2017

Gang rape sentencing adjourned to tomorrow

Declan Brennan

TWO Cork men who were found guilty of taking part in a gang rape will be sentenced in Cork tomorrow.

The men were aged 16 and 18 when they 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 three men, now aged 19, 19 and 22 had all pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to four charges each of vaginal rape, attempted rape, oral rape and sexual assault of a woman at an unknown location in Cork on Sept 13, 2009.

The charges of vaginal rape against all three accused were dropped during the trial because of the complainant’s evidence that the men had not penetrated her despite them telling gardai that they had.

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

The second man was found guilty of sexual 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.

Dermot Sheehan BL, defending the 22-year-old man, asked Mr Justice Paul Carney, sitting in Dublin, to adjourn sentencing for one day because his senior counsel Blaise O’Carroll was unavailable until then. He said the case was particularly sensitive.

Mr Justice Carney, who is sitting in Cork for the rest of the week, agreed to hear the matter tomorrow.

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.

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