A Kerry man has been convicted of intimidating a sex worker into withdrawing rape allegations against him.
The 40-year-old man sent the woman texts messages and emails calling her a whore, and threatening to tell her family and neighbours that she was a prostitute.
A jury of six men and six women acquitted him of raping and sexually assaulting the woman in a hotel room in Dublin city on March 28, 2010. The jury found him guilty of two counts of threatening or putting in fear a witness in a garda investigation on dates from April 29th - May 28th, 2010.
The man had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to all charges. Both the accused and the complainant are entitled to anonymity under the Rape Act.
After a six day trial the jury took just over two hours of deliberations to return the unanimous verdicts.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy thanked the jurors before remanding the man in custody until later this month when he will be sentenced.
Thomas Creed SC, defending, asked that the man be allowed to stay on bail saying that he would like to say goodbye to his children. The judge refused the application and said there was a potential for obstruction of justice.
The trial heard that the woman was working as an escort or prostitute on the weekend and had come to Dublin to meet a number of men for sex. She advertised herself as a well educated former model on the Escorts Ireland website.
The accused man contacted her on this website and an arrangement was made for them to meet in the hotel room.
The woman said that she had agreed to meet the man for a “girlfriend experience” service but that he became rough and forced her to perform oral sex on him while holding her by the hair.
She said this was never agreed to and that she did not consent to what happened and he did not pay her. She testified that she thought she was going to die at one point when he allegedly had his hands on her face and she couldn’t breath.
The man told gardaí that he believed the sex with the complainant was consented to by both of them. He said: “I’ve never physically or sexually assaulted anyone in my life”.
The trial heard that, as gardaí made efforts to identify the accused, he began sending intimidating texts to the woman from three other unregistered mobile phone numbers.
The texts told the woman to withdraw “false allegations” or that her neighbours in a small rural town-land would be shocked and ashamed.
Another text stated: “I assume your family know you are a prostitute. I’ve passed on your messages”.
An email sent from another fake email address to the woman on May 28th, 2010 referred to “a whore” from that same village in a “Limerick” rhyme referencing a “video of you fucking the dog”.
The email ended: “Never ride a guy who keeps his jacket on, they always record it on their mobile”.
The woman said she was terrified when she received that email. “I was not sleeping, not eating. I was terrified he would come after me. I didn’t know how far he was going to take it,” she testified.
The accused was only identified and arrested when Detective Garda Ronan Conway linked his use of the Escort Ireland website to a former business he had worked for.
The accused denied that he had threatened or intimidated the woman. He told gardaí that the texts were not threatening.