Jury convicts two Leitrim men of raping woman at party

Trial heard victim had been drinking heavily and did not remember ending up in bed

The jury at the Central Criminal Court found the first man guilty of rape and the second man guilty of oral rape by majority verdict.

The jury at the Central Criminal Court found the first man guilty of rape and the second man guilty of oral rape by majority verdict.

 

A jury has convicted two Leitrim men of raping a woman after she blacked out at a party.

After an 11 day trial at the Central Criminal Court, the jury of nine men and three women spent just over six hours in deliberations.

On Monday, the jury foreman told Ms Justice Eileen Creedon they were “deadlocked” and she told jurors they could return a verdict on which 10 or more of them agreed.

The prosecution case was that the complainant was drinking at the party with the men and other friends and did not remember ending up in a bed. She said she came to on two occasions to find the defendants raping her each time.

Both accused said they separately had sex with the woman but maintained she was aware at the time and consented.

They had pleaded not guilty to rape in a flat in a town in the county on a date in 2017. The second accused also denied a charge of oral rape of the woman. The defendants and the complainant are now aged in their 20s and knew one another from school.

The jury found the first man guilty of rape and the second man guilty of oral rape by majority verdict. They failed to reach an agreement on the count of rape against the second man.

As the verdicts were delivered, each man hung his head. The second man began sobbing and shaking and there was crying from some of their family members who were present in court.

‘Nowhere to go’

Lawyers for the men asked Justice Eileen Creedon to consider allowing them to remain on bail in light of their young age. Conor Devally SC submitted that “they have nowhere to go” and were not a flight risk.

Mr Justice Creedon said they have been found guilty of very serious charges and their remand status must change. She remanded them into custody for a sentence hearing on January 17th.

Earlier in the trial Eilis Brennan SC, prosecuting, told jurors that there was a view at the party that “this was a woman who was in the room, she was vulnerable, she was in position to be taken advantage of”.

There was evidence of some men inviting others to go to the bedroom and “try her”.

Ms Brennan said that the lack of concern for the woman shown by the two defendants outside of the bedroom could be indicative of a lack of concern inside the room.

“Did they care, did they know she was drunk and unable to stand up for herself?,” she said.

The men cannot be named in order to protect the anonymity of the complainant.

The jury heard evidence that after leaving the bedroom, the first accused told other men present that he had sex with the woman and he began talking about getting her out of the flat.

His lawyer told the jury that the woman had consented to sex and later made the allegation against him because she was upset by conversations she overheard outside the bedroom.

Mr Devally, for the first accused, said comments made by “immature lads behaving poorly” left the woman’s self-esteem trashed and caused her to “reconstruct” and condemn the entire night.

Colm Smyth SC, defending the second accused, said that no witness gave evidence that they saw the woman in an incapacitated state or out of control.

The jury heard that the woman had smoked two “puffs of cannabis” and drank a “cocktail” of drinks including five whiskey drinks, two shots and a can of cider.

A number of men who were at the party testified that they had seen the second man and the complainant sitting up in the bed and they were smiling and cuddling.

Ms Brennan said that the first accused had moved into the flat a few weeks earlier and bought a 12-pack box of condoms.

She said he had an intention to have sex “as soon as possible” and noted that after the alleged rape, he texted friends on Snapchat saying he had “christened” the flat.