Monday 19 August 2019

Limerick man who raped woman in her home jailed for 12 years

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Declan Brennan & Brion Hoban

A Limerick man whose conviction for the rape of a woman in her home was quashed last year has been jailed for 12 years for the same offence.

The Central Criminal Court heard that the attack by Alan Hanley (38) of no fixed abode came to an end when the woman ran semi-naked from the house and in a very distressed condition.

In 2015, after a second trial, Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy had sentenced Hanley to 12-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. Last June, he successfully appealed his conviction over the trial judge’s failure to give the jury a corroboration warning.

During a third trial at the Central Criminal Court earlier this year, Hanley again pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape at a house in the city on the night of May 4/5, 2012. He had previously admitted assaulting the woman causing her harm on the same occasion.

After seven hours of deliberations, a jury of three women and nine men returned a majority verdict of guilty on one count of raping the woman. The jury failed to agree verdicts on the two other counts of rape.

Mr Justice Alex Owens backdated the 12 year prison sentence to May 5, 2012, the day he first went into custody on this matter.

During the trial, the jury heard testimony that the attack ended when Hanley went upstairs to turn off a smoke alarm that had been activated because he was burning cut-up pieces of a rug on which he had ejaculated.

The woman, who was naked at this time, placed a towel and a throw around her and ran out of the house. A passer by saw her and the alarm was raised.

Hanley and the woman had met some weeks before the attack and there was a sexual element to their relationship. They had a serious falling out two nights before the attack.

On the night in question, he went to her house and began punching and kicking her when she answered the door, she said. He continued to attack her while she was lying in a ball by the fireplace.

He then tore all her clothes off and raped her on the rug before dragging her by her hair into a shower where he “hosed her down”, she told the jury.

She said she tried to escape but he caught her and raped her a second time and dragged her into the shower again. She alleged he then dragged her downstairs and raped her a third time.

The jury failed to agree verdicts on rape charges brought in relation to these allegations. The State has entered nolle prosequi on these.

Mr Justice Owens said he had to consider the danger of post release sexual re-offending and ordered that the man be under the supervision of the Probation Service for six years post release.

He also ordered that the man complete a sex offenders course if deemed suitable.

Hanley stood up in court and said he would not comply with this order, and shouted “You have no evidence, so go f**k yourself. F**ck you and your court”.

Mr Justice Owens said the case was aggravated by the home invasion, the prolonged period of violence, the effect on the victim, the damage to her home and property and the man's history of offending.

He said the man had been annoyed by a falling out with the woman over the previous two days and that he set off for her apartment "to teach her a lesson she would never forget". He said it was difficult to see any mitigating factors and that there was no remorse shown.

Mr Justice Owens also ordered that the man make no attempt to contact the victim or her family.

At his appeal last July, Michael Bowman SC said it was the class of case which required a corroboration warning due to “inconsistencies” in the complainant’s evidence, and contrary accounts she had given between both trials.

A corroboration warning was given to the jury in his first trial, which ultimately resulted in a disagreement. Mr Bowman said the fact another court had given the warning endorsed the argument that it should have been given in the retrial.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the Court of Appeal had concluded that the trial judge erred in not providing a warning, in the circumstances of this case. He said the court could not be convinced that this did not affect the outcome of the trial.

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