Thursday 12 December 2019

Jury told to acquit man accused of rape on tour bus

Jason Derulo
Jason Derulo

Sarah Jane Murphy

A judge has directed a jury to acquit a second man accused of raping a woman on a tour bus after a Jason Derulo concert.

Mr Justice Paul Butler yesterday told jurors at the Central Criminal Court he was very reluctant to withdraw the case from them but it was necessary as a matter of law.

He told them that while the investigation was handled very well overall, the failure to test the neck of the accused man for DNA left a danger of an unfair trial.

The jury heard the 35-year-old man, who denied raping the woman in June 2014, told gardaí the complainant had kissed him on the right side of his neck.

He said he believed her saliva would be there, and asked them to test for it.

During her evidence the woman repeatedly denied she had kissed the man.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape, oral rape, sexual assault and false imprisonment of the then-19-year-old woman. The offences allegedly occurred in a vehicle at an unknown location in Cork city on June 27, 2014. The direction to the jury to acquit the man on all charges ends the trial.

Last Wednesday Timothy O'Leary SC, prosecuting, told the jury that the Director of Public Prosecutions was dropping all charges against a 44-year-old co-accused because of insufficient evidence. This followed a separate ruling by Mr Justice Butler which prevented the prosecution from calling certain evidence in relation to this defendant.

Mr Justice Butler told the jury yesterday that last week he ruled that the man's detention was unlawful. Mr Derulo was not charged with any offence in relation to these events.

The complainant in this case alleged that a man, identified as "cap guy", blocked her from getting off the tour bus. She claims he brought her upstairs, where he raped her.

She claims another larger man came over at one point and also raped her. The woman said she was terrified and asked them to stop, but they didn't. She said she managed to make her escape after a third man came over and said: "I'm next."

It was the prosecution case that "cap guy" was the 35-year-old accused and the larger man was the 44-year-old accused. Both men denied all the charges. Lawyers for the 35-year-old accused said their client accepted he had sex with the complainant, but didn't accept consent was absent.

Irish Independent

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