Woman given 2½-year suspended sentence over false rape claim

Jacinta O’Connor (28) alleged foreign national in green hoodie attacked her in Killarney

The court heard that following the rape complaint, CCTV footage was gathered from a number of premises by gardaí and  analysed ‘painstakingly’. Image: Getty Images.

The court heard that following the rape complaint, CCTV footage was gathered from a number of premises by gardaí and analysed ‘painstakingly’. Image: Getty Images.

 

A woman has been given a 2½ year suspended sentence for falsely making an allegation of rape after a night out in Killarney, Co Kerry almost four years ago.

Jacinta O’Connor (28), of Steelroe, Killorglin, had denied “knowingly” making a false report of a rape and wasting Garda time on Sepember 22nd, 2014 but was found guilty by a jury in late 2016.

The finalisation of the case had been adjourned a number of times to allow for probation and other reports.

Judge Thomas E O’Donnell on Tuesday said Ms O’Connor been on a night out after Kerry won the 2014 All-Ireland senior football title and found herself separated from her friends.

At 4am she had presented herself at Killarney Garda station and alleged she had been raped by a foreign national who was wearing a green hoodie.

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

‘Painstakingly’

The court heard CCTV footage was gathered from a number of premises by gardaí and was analysed “painstakingly”.

A man matching Ms O’Connor’s description was identified and gardaí seized some of his clothing and possessions.

However, the footage also Ms O’Connor leaving the nightclub with an Irish man - identified as ‘Mr X’ during the trial - who she went down a laneway with. ‘Mr X’ told the court he and Ms O’Connor had gone to a nearby carpark and engaged in consensual sex.

Judge O’Donnell said it was quite clear that Ms O’Connor had consumed “a copious amount of alcohol” on the night . She had no previous convictions and had since married and was working, which he said had brought stability into her life.

However, he said this was a serious charge and the false report had put an innocent person at risk. A considerable amount of valuable garda time was also wasted during the case.

Judge O’Donnell said the appropriate sentence was 2½ years which he suspended for a period of 2½ years on Ms O’Connor’s own bond and providing she keep the peace.