Thursday 25 April 2019

Man has conviction for raping 15-year-old quashed

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Ruaidhri Giblin

A Co Louth man has had his conviction for raping a 15-year-old family friend quashed over a ruling which prevented his lawyers from questioning the girl, who asserted that she was a virgin before their encounter, as to why she was on the contraceptive pill at the time.

The now 25-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty to rape and defilement of the girl at his home between October 4 and 5, 2014, when he was 21. A Central Criminal Court jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment on July 29, 2016.

The Court of Appeal quashed the man's conviction yesterday over a ruling which prevented the defence from asking questions of the complainant as to why she was on the contraceptive pill, and remained on it despite some adverse medical reactions. It was the defence case that all sexual activity was consensual and the complainant had been involved in sexual activity, including intercourse, with another male shortly before his encounter with her.

It was the prosecution's case that, although she had boyfriends, she was a virgin prior to her encounter with the man.

During the trial, the defence sought to question the complainant on previous sexual history. The defence also sought to introduce evidence that would assist in establishing the complainant was taking the pill not just for medical reasons but at least partly for contraceptive purposes in contemplation of such activity.

Giving judgment in the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said there were difficult and complex issues for the trial judge to balance between protecting the rights of the accused and excluding evidence which was irrelevant and prejudicial.

There was, at least, a possibility the jury might be persuaded a primary or secondary motivation for taking the pill, and remaining on it, was to facilitate sexual intercourse.

Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Hedigan, allowed the appeal, set aside the man's conviction and ordered a retrial. The man was admitted to bail to appear before the Central Criminal Court at the next list to fix dates.

Irish Independent

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