Sunday 21 January 2018

Story of woman allegedly raped by her Tinder date has 'ring of truth' around it, court hears

Tinder is a social dating app for smartphones.
Tinder is a social dating app for smartphones.
Stock image

Eimear Cotter

The story of a woman allegedly raped by a man she met on Tinder has “the ring of truth” about it, a prosecutor has told a jury.

Prosecutor Alex Owens SC said he had no doubt the woman regretted getting into the defendant’s car and added there were “laws that protect people from predators” like him.

Mr Owens made his comments in his closing speech to the jury in the trial of a 36-year-old man accused of raping a woman in the Dublin mountains.

He has claimed he had fully consensual sex with the woman and told gardai, during interview, that he didn’t beat her up, or use violence or threats.

He also told gardai he did not rape the woman, saying “I did not rape that girl, as much as you’ve tried to intimidate me, I will not change”.

However, he admitted he “hoped” and “expected” to have sex with her because of earlier text conversations.

The man has pleaded not guilty to rape at Kilmashogue Lane, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin on September 11, 2014.

It is the State’s case the accused raped the university student in his car after driving her up the Dublin Mountains following a visit to McDonald's restaurant.

In his closing speech to the jury, prosecutor Alex Owens SC asked the jury to consider the woman’s evidence which he said was “very coherent” and had “the ring of truth” about it.

Read More: Man accused of raping student he met on Tinder says he 'expected' meet-up was for sex, court hears

He said there had been some element of “sexualised banter” between the pair and the defendant had put his arm around her and kissed her when they arrived at the viewing point.

“So what”, he said, “that does not mean the woman intended to have sex come what may”.

Mr Owens said the accused needed “an absolute signal” and there was “no such agreement” for sex.

He claimed the man then turned nasty, belittling her, demanding she get out of the car and then insisting on her performing a sex act on him, when he came back and picked her up.

He also said the accused had shown a “nasty streak” when after he finished quickly he told her “that was sh*t”.

He told the jury they may wonder what the woman was doing getting into a car with a strange man. It was easy to get into the “blame mentality”, he said but he reminded them they were sitting “in judgement of facts” and must not be “judgemental in relation to human beings”.

He said the judge will give the jury the corroboration warning, and he asked them to look at the evidence of the victim’s flatmate, who spoke to the woman as the defendant drove her home and knew her friend was “distressed”.

The court heard the woman didn’t initially want to report the alleged rape and was on Tinder the next day. Mr Owens asked the jury to consider the woman’s frame of mind at the time, and her evidence that she wanted to pretend it hadn’t happened.

“The fact she continued to use them [dating apps] is not something that is necessarily inconsistent with an allegation of rape”, he said.

In his closing remarks, defence counsel Michael Bowman SC said the jury must look at the evidence, and not decide on “the character of a person they know nothing about”.

Mr Bowman claimed the allegation was “a flawed statement” and a “flawed complaint”.

He said the woman initially told her housemate it was “the worst date ever” and the defendant “verbally abused” her.

He also said the woman continued to have conversations with men on Tinder in the aftermath of the alleged rape.

Mr Bowman will continue his closing speech tomorrow.

Read More: Man accused of raping woman he met on Tinder after driving her up to Dublin Mountains

Earlier, Garda Ciarán Byrne said gardai conducted two interviews with the accused man.

The man told gardai that he and the woman met through Tinder, and she seemed keen to meet up.

They started sexting and arranged to meet up for a “spin”. They went to McDonalds on the Kylemore Road and he suggested going to the viewing point, where a person can see the whole of Dublin.

The accused told gardai he “hoped” to have sex with the woman.

“At the end of the day it’s Tinder and she said she’s horny”, he said, adding that his mindset was that they were meeting up to have sex.

“It’s not necessarily going to happen because we don’t know each other from Adam but I was hoping and expecting”, he told gardai.

He said they drove up to the viewing point. He said it was getting dark and he could tell she was getting nervous, and they had a bit of banter about it, with her saying she was okay as long as he was not a serial killer.

The man said he asked her for a kiss and they started making out.

He said she told him to stop, which he did, and they were talking and then they kissed a second time.

He asked her to grab his penis but she told him she didn’t know him and wasn’t comfortable with that.

He said he kissed her neck and at no time did she fully stop kissing him.

He claimed she performed a sex act on him and he claims after a while he started to undress her and she asked if he had any condoms but he didn't.

He told gardai he they had sex for several minutes and that she didn't say no and he didn't beat the woman up, use violence, threats or force

He said the woman was “a bit hostile” afterwards, telling him “you little sh*t, you tricked me into having sex with you”.

The accused told gardai he thought the woman was “a bit cold” and “rude”. He said he wanted to hold her and be affectionate with her, but she told him she wanted her space.

He said he then dropped the woman home.

He denied he raped her, or that she told him to stop.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul Butler and a jury of six men and six women.

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