Tuesday 21 November 2017

Louth man aquitted of sexual offences but convicted of assaulting partner

Conor Gallagher and Jessie Magee

A LOUTH man has been found guilty of beating his girlfriend, but acquitted of sexually assaulting and raping her with his asthma inhaler at the couple's home two and a half years ago.

Last Friday, a jury at the Central Criminal Court acquitted the man by unanimous verdict of rape with an implement, alleged to have occurred on July 9th, 2010.

Today, after deliberating for a total of two hours and 12 minutes, the jury convicted him of assault causing harm but acquitted him of sexual assault.

The man had denied all charges.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy remanded the accused on continuing bail until sentencing on 4th February next.

During the trial, the woman claimed that her partner began beating her when they got home from a party and went on to rip her clothes off and raped her.

The jury heard that on the day of the attack, the woman had been detained by gardaí in relation to an earlier conviction and released a few hours later.

That night, the couple went separately to a party, and the woman told prosecuting counsel Remy Farrell SC that her boyfriend was angry and drunk by the time she arrived.

She said he was going into residential treatment the next week for his drinking problem.

She said she left the party after a while to get more beers from her house. Her boyfriend followed her and an argument broke out between them in the kitchen.

They both went to bed where the man started giving out to her about someone she slept with several weeks before while they were temporarily broken up and he had been in prison for the weekend. She said he began constantly hitting her and was pulling her around by the hair.

She said he ripped her clothes off saying: “Is this what you want?”.

A friend of the woman told the court that the complainant called to her door in a dishevelled state after the alleged attack. She said when she went to pick up clothes from her friend’s house she saw clumps of hair and glass on the ground.

Later that day, the complainant was given a lift to a woman’s shelter by the accused’s father. The accused was also in the car at the time and was crying and begging, the woman said.

The woman agreed with defence counsel Hugh Hartnett SC that she stayed in contact with the accused after the incident and that she would phone him regularly. She also said they made plans to live together on a part-time basis if he gave up alcohol.

During cross examination the woman denied she had a drink problem but admitted she had been in trouble with gardai several times for being alcohol related offences. She also denied being charged in relation to an incident where she attacked the accused in a pub because he was “chatting up a girl.”

The trial heard that after the attack, the woman threatened on Facebook that she was going to have her boyfriend beaten up, and also sent him a message saying she was looking forward to her day in court.

The trial also heard evidence of another Facebook conversation between a friend of the complainant and a third party in which the friend said she did not believe a rape had occurred.

The woman said the accused found a new partner several weeks later and that it was at this stage that she said she was going ahead with the charges.

The man's defence counsel put it to the alleged victim that she visited the family home of the accused several times after the incident and demanded a holiday in Turkey and a PlayStation. He also said that the accused’s mother eventually went to gardai to complain of being harassed by the complainant.

The woman agreed that the mother went to gardai but “only when she realised I wasn’t dropping the charges.” She denied asking her for a holiday or games console and said it was the mother who offered her a holiday if she agreed to drop the charges.

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