Sunday 19 November 2017

Rape accused ‘hallucinating’ in garda interview, court hears

Sonya McLean

A garda who questioned a man accused of falsely imprisoning a woman and raping her has agreed that the accused appeared to be hallucinating in his first interview with officers.

The 42-year-old man is alleged to have stopped the woman and her four-year-old son on a Dublin street and brought them both to an apartment on the understanding that someone was sick and needed help.

It is the State’s case that he then tied up the woman and raped and sexually assaulted her while her son watched television.

The accused has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to two counts of sexual assault, two counts of rape with a make-up pen, attempted vaginal and anal rape, oral rape and aggravated sexual assault between February 12 and 13, 2010 in Dublin.

He also denies child abduction, threats to kill or cause serious harm, false imprisonment, stealing a bank card and stealing cash from two ATMs.

Detective Garda Michael Donlon agreed with Anthony Sammon SC, defending, that he brought the first interview with the man to an end after he appeared to be hallucinating and started to repeat the questions officers were asking him.

He agreed that while being questioned about the alleged false imprisonment, the man replied to gardaí; “Sure you know, ye were there.”

Det Gda Donlon said it was suspected that the accused was under the influence of something and a doctor was called. This doctor later confirmed that the man was not fit for interview for at least six hours and he was brought to a cell to rest.

He agreed that he questioned the man the following morning shortly after 8am and when asked by counsel if the man appeared to be tired, he replied “to my recollection, not particularly”.

Det Gda Donlon accepted that the accused gave a “narrative account” of what happened during a third interview, an account which Mr Sammon suggested was akin to a confession.

He agreed that during this interview the accused does appear agitated, is pacing back and forth and is consistently smoking.

Det Gda Donlon refused to accept a suggestion from Mr Sammon that he approached the interview with “the objection of convincing the man he was guilty”.

“Absolutely not. I always go in with an open mind. The purpose of the interview was to establish the truth and give him the opportunity to tell his side of the story,” Det Gda Donlon said.

Detective Garda Kevin Moran told Mr Sammon that he was aware that Det Gda Donlon had stopped an interview with the man the previous day.

He said the man showed “no signs of fatigue” when he questioned him.

He confirmed that he put the woman’s statement of complaint to the man during his interview with him and that the accused replied a number of times that he couldn’t recall what happened.

Det Gda Moran agreed with Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting in re-examination that although the man did say he couldn’t remember a thing, he later admitted in the same interview that he had taken the young boy from the apartment and left him in Smithfield.

The detective confirmed that there was CCTV footage in the case that showed that the child was left in Smithfield and that there had also been evidence from a taxi-driver that he picked up the boy from this area.

Det Gda Moran agreed with counsel that gardaí had not mentioned this fact to the man before he admitted it himself in interview.

The State has now closed its case.

Mr Sammon made a number of admissions to the jury.

He said the defence had sought the phone records of the complainant from the Director of Public Prosecutions but the DPP ruled those records were not relevant.

Mr Sammon said the defence replied and said the records were relevant to their case to prove their client’s instructions that the woman knew him before the alleged incident. He said the records were not disclosed and are no longer available.

Earlier in the trial during the cross-examination of the woman, she denied suggestions that she was working as an escort and “dominatrix” for the accused, and was worried her husband would find out.

It was also put to here that she had previously stolen money from the accused and was in his apartment that day trying to explain herself.

The defence put it to her that she was taking the drug mephedrone and offering to have sex with the accused to part repay the thousands of euro she had allegedly taken.

The woman denied this and said she had never taken drugs or offered sex for money. She added that she never met or knew of the accused before that day.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of nine men and three women.

Irish Independent

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