Man convicted of raping and threatening to kill his wife
Third successful prosecution of rape within a marriage in Ireland
A man has been convicted of raping and threatening to kill his wife as their marriage broke down in 2014.
It is thought to be only the third successful prosecution of rape within a marriage in Ireland since marital rape was made illegal in 1990. The woman wept in court and hugged a supporter as the rape verdict came in.
The trial at the Central Criminal Court has now concluded after jurors were unable to agree on verdicts on two remaining charges that the man head-butted his wife in May 2014 and threatened her in the city centre in early August 2014.
The 13-day trial heard the accused began threatening violence against the woman after she told him she wanted to separate in early 2014.
The jury heard the relationship had been under strain for some time due to the man’s jealously of the his wife’s successful career and the attention she was giving their infant child.
The woman obtained a barring order against her husband the day after he raped her and threatened to cut her face open with a carving knife. However, the threats continued over the phone and in person.
The woman gave evidence that she had to stay in contact with the accused because a family court judge ruled he should be given access to their child.
The 11 men and one woman returned staggered guilty verdicts over a two-day period having deliberated for a total of 11 hours.
They convicted the man of raping his wife in their home in May, 2014 as their son slept downstairs and of threatening to cut her face immediately beforehand. He was also convicted of threatening to kill the woman the next day over the phone.
Jurors failed to reach verdicts on charges that he head-butted her and threatened to do “serious damage to her” when they met to discuss custody of their son.
The man denied the charges and told gardaí: “She’s like a snake, she bites you and goes down again, She lies very well.”
His defence counsel suggested the issues of ownership of their house or custody of their son might be the reasons behind the allegations, along with feelings of bitterness or revenge.
The 42-year-old accused had already pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife with a hammer in August 2014. He pleaded not guilty to rape, assault causing harm and five counts of threats to kill or cause serious harm between May 24th and August 1st, 2014. The jury had previously been instructed to return a not guilty verdict on a fifth threat charge.
Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy ordered the man be registered as a sex offender and remanded him in custody for sentencing on July 18th.
Before the trial began, defence lawyers said their client, a “dark skinned (foreign) man”, could not get a fair trial “in circumstances where the jury panel will most likely be an all white, all Christian jury.”
Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, suggested jurors could be hostile to the man’s religion. Ms Justice Kennedy agreed to issue a warning that jurors should not serve if they felt they could not be impartial.