Tuesday 11 December 2018

Woman found guilty of making false report of rape gets suspended sentence

Killarney Garda station, Co. Kerry
Killarney Garda station, Co. Kerry

Anne Lucey

A 28-year-old woman has been given a suspended sentence of two years and six months for making a false allegation rape.

The woman falsely alleged she was raped by a foreign national to Killarney gardai after being out socialising in the early hours of night of the 2014 All-Ireland football final in which Kerry beat Donegal.

At her trial in late 2016, Jacinta O’Connor, of Steelroe, Killorglin had denied “knowingly” making a false report of a rape and wasting garda time on Sept 22, 2014.

After a four-day trial a jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty.

Finalisation had been adjourned a number of times to allow for probation and other reports.

Referring to the evidence of Sergeant Leo Randles,  Judge Thomas E O’Donnell said Ms O’Connor been on a night out and had got separated from her friends.

At 4am she had presented herself to the garda station and alleged she had been raped by a foreign national wearing a green hoodie.

Gardai had brought her to the sexual assault unit in Cork, had sealed off an alleged scene and Ms O’Connor gave a number of detailed accounts.

Gardai then had gathered CCTV footage from a number of premises which they analysed “painstakingly”.

A foreign national wearing a green hoodie, alleged by Ms O’Connor to have raped her, was identified on CCTV and gardai seized some of his clothing and possessions.

CCTV also showed her leaving the nightclub with an Irish man, “Mr X”,  and going down a laneway with him.

Mr X later gave evidence they had gone to a nearby car park where they had engaged in consensual sex.

Judge O’Donnell said it was quite clear she had had “a copious amount of alcohol” on the night.

She had no previous convictions and there were lengthy probation and psychiatric reports.

She was unlikely to reoffend and was under psychiatric care.

She had since married, was working and had brought stability into her life.

However this was a serious charge and she had put an innocent person at risk because of the false report. A considerable amount of valuable garda time had been wasted.

The judge said there was enormous credit due to gardai in the painstaking way they analysed the CCTV.

Judge O’Donnell said the appropriate tariff was two years and six months.

However he was suspending the sentence for a period of two years and six months, on Ms O’Connor’s own bond and providing she kept the peace.

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