Monday 20 May 2019

Rape victim tells court: 'Trials used to make us look like untrustworthy fools'

Central Criminal Court (stock photo)
Central Criminal Court (stock photo)

Sarah Jane Murphy

A woman who was raped and sexually assaulted by two men while on her way to a party has criticised the court process for making victims look "untrustworthy fools" during trials.

The woman, who was aged 19 at the time, said she was very confused that her previous sexual history was brought up during the trial of one of the men.

The 27-year-old had denied a charge of rape at an address in Co Waterford on December 20, 2015. He was convicted by a jury following a Central Criminal Court trial last May. His co-accused, also 27, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman on the same occasion.

Mr Justice Paul Butler imposed an eight-year sentence on the man convicted of rape and suspended the final two years. He sentenced the other defendant to five years for sexual assault and suspended the final 24 months. He noted that this man had entered a guilty plea and therefore didn't put his victim through a trial.

Reading from her victim impact statement, the woman said: "Parts of your life from the past that have nothing to do with the case are used and manipulated to make the victim look like an untrustworthy fool."

The woman said her faith in the human race had changed forever. Faced with a similar situation she would not go through the court process again, she said.

"This is a win for those who commit these crimes," the woman said.

She said she felt her private history had been invaded and was allowed to be used to blacken her name and distract the jury from the facts of the case.

The woman said she hoped the jailing of the two men meant that this will not happen to someone else.

"These men took something that was not theirs to take and I continue to strive to regain my sense of self," she said.

Mr Justice Butler commended the woman for her bravery in providing the court with an articulate victim impact statement.

Irish Independent

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