Two men who raped a student after bringing her back to their flat have been jailed for nine years.
Ghanaian nationals Boakye Osei (30), of Tooban, Burnfoot, and Kelvin Opoku (33), of Cill Graine, Letterkenny, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the rape of the woman in a town in Co Donegal in February 2015.
The Central Criminal Court heard that the woman was out with her friend in a nightclub on the night of the incident and met Opoku and Osei while walking home. The victim got into their car believing the men had offered to bring her home.
The woman told the trial that on a scale of one to 10 in terms of drunkenness, she was a 10 and about to pass out. A video clip shown during the trial showed the woman staggering around an apartment and later falling on the bathroom floor before the two men picked her up.
The men took her into a bedroom where they raped her. The woman testified that she was “blind drunk” and could not and did not consent to any sexual activity.
In interview with gardaí, Opoku claimed that the woman was not too drunk to consent and alleged she was an enthusiastic participant. Osei denied having any sexual activity with the woman.
Passing sentence on Monday, Mr Justice Alex Owens said he accepted that neither man set out to rape the woman. However, he said they were fully aware of her incapacitation due to her intoxication and were prepared to take advantage.
The judge said Osei continues to insist that he did not have sex with the woman, despite forensic evidence suggesting otherwise. He said Osei claims the woman and her friend must have “fitted him up” by putting the woman’s DNA on his condom and that he “is the victim in all of this”.
Mr Justice Owens said a probation report states that Opoku’s empathy and insight is somewhat limited. He said that if Opoku has managed to convince himself of his innocence and lack of culpability, he has not convinced anyone else.
He sentenced both men to nine years imprisonment. He recommended that Opoku be deported following the completion of his sentence.
He said that Osei is an Irish citizen and if his status is withdrawn “he will be the author of his own misfortune”. He ordered that both undergo four years post release supervision during which they must follow all directions of the Probation Service. He said that failure to comply with this order was a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of imprisonment of 12 months.
The woman, who is now in her 20s, told the court that it was difficult to narrow down into words the effect this has had on her.
In her victim impact statement, which she read out in court, she said the experience of being stripped of her clothes to be examined internally and externally in the sexual assault treatment unit was “challenging and humiliating”.
The woman said she was told to attend a hospital to be put on anti-HIV medicine because of the ethnicity of the accused. She said she spent the next few months going to hospitals for blood tests and to take medications before she was given the all clear.
She said that she had decided that if she was diagnosed with HIV she would kill herself. She said she still feels panic and fear around black males.
The woman said the recent trial was the third attempt for it to go ahead. She said she had to prepare herself emotionally and take time off work each time.
She said the trial was one of the hardest things she had ever had to experience and that reliving the events was like reopening an old wound. She said that the men had robbed her of five years of her life.