Nurse who raped woman in hotel toilet starts appeal
AN Irish nurse jailed for raping a mother-of-two in Australia has launched an appeal against her conviction, claiming the judge misdirected the jury.
Anne-Marie O'Loughlin (26), of Fann, Edenderry, Co Offaly, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years for raping the married woman in the toilets of a hotel in Brisbane.
In the Court of Appeal in Brisbane yesterday, barrister Jeff Hunter made submissions on behalf of O'Loughlin, who was convicted in February on two counts of digital rape and one of deprivation of liberty at the hotel on November 29, 2009. She was found not guilty of a fourth charge of sexual assault.
The five-day trial heard O'Loughlin attacked the 32-year-old woman in the female toilets of the hotel.
The victim, who cannot be named, told the court she kissed O'Loughlin in the toilets for up to three minutes.
But she insisted she had not given consent for O'Loughlin to pull up her top and bra and touch her breast.
She further claimed she had not consented to being digitally penetrated by O'Loughlin.
In the Court of Appeal yesterday, Mr Hunter said the jury had asked for a direction on how it could use intoxication when resolving the issue of mistaken belief.
The judge gave an incorrect direction and the jury was given a written version of it which would have complicated the matter, he told the appeal court.
"The complainant's inability to set out how she ended up in the cubicle with a woman she didn't know is a significant matter," Mr Hunter added.
Mr Hunter said the complainant had also given different versions of the incident to her boyfriend and police.
He said this should have given a properly instructed jury real concerns about whether they could convict beyond reasonable doubt.
The complainant's husband had been very angry and he was the one who wanted to call police, Mr Hunter pointed out.
He said the fact the woman was wearing tight-fitting hipster jeans also raised the question about how her buttons were undone by O'Loughlin.
Prosecutor Michael Copley, said the direction had properly explained the concept of intoxication and reasonableness and mistaken belief.
Mr Copley added that the evidence showed penetration had taken place and the victim's clothing was not an issue.
The Court of Appeal reserved its judgment.