Trial of four men accused of raping woman at her Dublin home collapses

Woman, who is undergoing treatment for her mental health, was refused permission by court to give evidence via video link

The trial of four men accused of various sexual offences against a woman in her home almost five years ago has collapsed at the Central Criminal Court after all charges against the men were dropped.

The men, who all have addresses in Dublin, are alleged to have raped and sexually assaulted the woman at her home between December 8th and 9th, 2018.

Reporting restrictions apply to the identity of all participants in the trial.

The first accused, aged 25, pleaded not guilty to oral rape and sexual assault. The second accused, also aged 25, pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault. The third accused, aged 23, pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape, one oral rape and a sexual assault. The fourth accused, aged 24, pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape and sexual assault.


Earlier this week, while the woman was being cross-examined by Dominic McGinn, defending the first accused, she became upset in the witness box and asked for permission to take a break.

Anne Rowland, prosecuting, later told Mr Justice David Keane that the woman was undergoing psychiatric treatment for an ongoing issue with her mental health. She said the State were liaising with the woman’s doctor to see if the woman was fit to continue with her evidence in the trial.

Ms Rowland indicated on Tuesday that due to medical advice, the State wished to apply to the court to allow for the woman to continue her evidence via video link. The State was not successful in this application.

On Wednesday, Ms Rowland told the court that the woman was not able to continue to give her evidence and she said the State wished to enter a nolle prosequi on each of the counts faced by each of the men, meaning all charges against the men were dropped.

On Thursday, Mr Justice Keane spoke directly to the jury and said: “You have been here for three weeks, and unfortunately, the trial did not come to a natural conclusion.”

He said: “Our legal system, society and democracy depend on you.”

He noted the subject matter made the jury experience particularly difficult and challenging. He told the jury they were now exempt from jury service for 15 years as an expression of thanks from the State.

Mr Justice Keane reminded the jury that the complainant is entitled to lifelong anonymity, and further, each of the accused is also entitled to lifelong anonymity.

In evidence, the now 24-year-old woman had told Anne Rowland, prosecuting, that both her mother and her sister were not going to be at home on the night of December 8th and as she was scared to be at home alone, she contacted the first accused and asked if he would stay with her.

She said she had met the first accused through another friend and had been in a regular communication with him and had met up with him previously. He had also previously visited her at her home.

The woman said the first accused arrived to her home and although she was only expecting him, there were three other men with him. She said she asked him what they were doing there. The men came into the house and there was discussion about “weed” and they asked if she had any drink.

She said her home tends to get cold downstairs so the group moved upstairs where it was usually warmer.

The group were in her room and there was general conversation, with the four men speaking together in a second language that she didn’t understand.

The woman said she went to the bathroom and when she came out the men pulled down her trousers and all four men began “slapping my bum”. She said she asked the first accused to stop and told the jury she was sore.

She agreed with Ms Rowland that there had been some phone conversations with the first accused earlier in the day when he suggested to her that they could have sex. She said she thought the man was joking and did not give him any indication that she would have sex with him.

She said when the slapping eventually stopped, she was raped and sexually assaulted.