Saturday 18 November 2017

Woman made up story of being raped in a taxi

Cara Leonard outside the court yesterday. Photo: COURTPIX
Cara Leonard outside the court yesterday. Photo: COURTPIX

Sonya McLean

A YOUNG woman escaped jail after falsely claiming that a taxi driver had raped her yards from her home.

A full garda investigation was launched after Cara Leonard (20) reported the incident to gardai in September 2010, but no man was ever arrested or questioned.

Leonard had claimed that the man raped her after she got a taxi home from a night out.

She said her boyfriend and another man had been in the taxi but had been dropped off before her.

She later told gardai: "It was just in my head when I woke up."

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced her to three years' imprisonment yesterday, but he suspended this in full.

Garda Karen McCoy told the court that she had carried out extensive searches for the particular vehicle in which Leonard had alleged that the rape took place.

Leonard did not withdraw her statement until gardai contacted her over two months later to clear up some "ambiguities" in her initial complaint.

She recounted the incident again but gave a different story this time, eventually telling gardai: "He did not rape me".

Leonard still maintained that the taxi driver had tried to kiss her and said that she had made up the allegation because she did not want him to.

In December 2010, she made another statement to gardai, in which she admitted making a false allegation.

Leonard said she had little recollection of the night due to the amount of alcohol that she had drunk.

When asked why she had not withdrawn the allegation earlier, she replied: "I did not know how to approach it. I did not know what to do."

When asked by Judge Martin Nolan what Leonard was like, Gda McCoy replied: "I would not by any means say she has no understanding of what is going on. She was a bit younger at the time, your average teenage girl, a bit airy fairy."

Leonard, of Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to making a false statement at Raheny garda station on September 1, 2010.

Judge Nolan said the offence was "profoundly immoral" and acknowledged the "great inconvenience to gardai".

"The only redeeming feature in the case, which has nothing to do with her, was that no one was nominated as a suspect," the judge said.

He accepted she had "underlying difficulties" and "an amount of alcohol taken" but said he was satisfied that she knew the difference between right and wrong.

Irish Independent

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