Tuesday 24 April 2018

Woman accusing her sister's partner of raping her as a teen has flashbacks of alleged abuse, court hears

Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

Aoife Nic Ardghail and Fiona Ferguson

A woman accusing her sister's partner of rape has told a Central Criminal Court jury under cross-examination that she blocked some of the abuse out, but has vivid memories of other incidences.

The complainant told Alex Owens SC, defending, that she suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has flashbacks of alleged sexual abuse from when she was aged 13 to 16.

She confirmed that she gave details of five separate sex abuse allegations to the jury, adding that memories come back to her in flashbacks.

The accused man (40), who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to seven charges of raping the then teenager at his Dublin address on dates from September 2009 and July 2013.

He has further pleaded not guilty to oral rape and sexually assaulting the complainant by rubbing his penis on her thigh and touching her vagina at the same location on a date between August 2009 and August 2010.

The complainant rejected what Mr Owens said was his client's assertion that they had had consensual sex, saying, “he's lying.” She added, “how can a child consent?”

She agreed she told a doctor around 2012 that there was no risk of her being pregnant, before being prescribed the contraceptive pill for health reasons.

She explained to counsel that this was because one of her sisters was beside her at the time and she didn't want her to find out about the rapes.

In her opening address last Monday, Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, said the jury would hear evidence that the man told gardaí he had had consensual sex with the complainant.

Ms Walley told the jury that it would hear how the man made a statement that he had consensual sex twice with the then 16-year-old, and that she had accused other people of rape.

In his cross-examination, Mr Owens put it to the complainant that she had alleged she had been raped in America.

The complainant replied that family members had compared her behaviour to someone who had been sexually abused on one occasion in a relative's kitchen.

She said the accused man had been coming and going from the room at the time and the first thing that came into her head was America, but that she hadn't alleged any rape. She said the accused man's name was never mentioned on this occasion.

The complainant's mother told Ms Walley that her daughter's behaviour “changed overnight” a few months after she started secondary school when she was aged 13.

She said the complainant was like someone else's child and that her behaviour was destructive at school and at home.

The trial continues with the complainant's cross-examination before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury.

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