Monday 11 December 2017

Man charged with breaking into woman's hotel room and sexually assaulting her fails to stop trial

Stock photo
Stock photo

Tim Healy

A MAN charged with breaking into a woman's hotel bedroom and sexually assaulting her has failed to stop his trial.

The incident occurred in October 2008 when he allegedly twice entered her room uninvited.  He admitted he was in the room twice and came into physical contact while trying to rouse her from sleep but denied committing any sex assault.

Gardai were called and he was arrested while the woman was brought to the sexual assault unit of a nearby hospital  where various tests were done and samples taken. 

A doctor found no conclusive evidence of sexual assault but concluded internal bleeding was "consistent with trauma" in the area of the alleged assault.

He was charged with burglary and sexual assault.

When a book of evidence was served on him, the DPP told his lawyers there had been no forensic examination of samples taken from the woman, or from the accused himself. 

He then asked the High Court to stop the trial.

Among his arguments were the forensic evidence would have shown the woman had consumed a considerable quantity of alcohol that night. This would be relevant to her level of consciousness at the time and a "dream theory" the defence might seek to advance at trial, it was claimed.

Dismissing his action, Mr Justice Max Barrett said it was argued by the man that, in the absence of the forensic evidence, his trial would descend into nothing more than one person's word against another.

The judge did not accept this because there was not only her testimony but that of her sister, who was staying at the same hotel and was with her in the immediate aftermath.  

There was also evidence of the hotel manager and the gardai as well as a doctor's evidence of the internal bleeding being consistent with trauma.

There was no evidence supporting his claim the forensic evidence would have been probative. 

The State Forensic Laboratory, an independent body, had received the samples but concluded "a scientific examination will not further the investigation in any direction", the judge said.

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