Consent did not extend to rape, trial told


THERE WAS no such thing as a general consent to another person to do anything they liked to you, a rape trial was told yesterday.

Counsel for the prosecution said the complainant in the case had consented to sex with a man but that this did not permit him to act as he wished.

A 29-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to the anal and vaginal rape and sexual assault of the woman at her home on January 14th last year. Opening the case at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Ennis before Mr Justice Paul Carney, Brendan Grehan SC, prosecuting, said the two had known each other for a number of months before January 14th, 2011.

He said: “There was some previous intimacy, and that often happened in the context of drink being consumed by both parties.”

Mr Grehan added that two nights before January 14th, the accused – with a Co Clare address – had stayed at the woman’s home in her bed. He said when the accused arrived at the woman’s home on January 14th she allowed him in. Mr Grehan said: “He followed her straight up the stairs and he went into her bedroom and grabbed her.” They then had sexual intercourse.

The State counsel said this ended when the woman heard her son, aged three or four, and she left to tend to him. Mr Grehan stressed: “The prosecution is not making any allegation of criminal conduct up to this point in time.”

Counsel said that having attended to her son, the complainant came back into the bedroom. He alleged the accused then took hold of her and had anal sex with her against her will. “She told him to stop, that it hurt, and he wouldn’t stop.”

He said: “This was done in circumstances where she is saying she wasn’t agreeing to what was happening, and that she asked him to get off her and he pushed down harder on her.” He continued to have sex with her against her will, he added. “He was very rough and started slapping her and told her: ‘Take it, you slut.’”

Counsel said the accused then “pulled her backwards off the bed by her hair towards him”.

Mr Grehan said the complainant “was shaken after what happened”. She was bleeding, swollen and sore, and in shock at what had taken place. He added: “She didn’t sleep that night. She felt numb and eventually the following morning, he left.”

He said the woman did not make an immediate complaint of rape. A complaint was lodged with gardaí on January 16th. He said the woman was seen by a doctor 48 hours after the alleged rape.

Mr Grehan told the jury: “The prosecution will be effectively saying to you that there is no such thing as a general giving of consent to another person to do anything they like to you; that the complainant, even though she hadn’t objected to having intercourse with the accused on the night or on other occasions, she did object to having anal intercourse and what happened thereafter.”

He added: “Despite that objection and signalling a lack of consent on her part, that the accused persisted in respect of his endeavours and the prosecution say committed three sex offences against her.” The trial continues tomorrow before a jury of eight men and four women.