Woman tells rape trial sexual activity in car ‘absolutely not’ consensual

Four men accused of sexual assault, rape and false imprisonment of then teenager in 2016

A woman has denied that sexual activity in a car when she alleges she was sexually assaulted and raped by five men was consensual.

She also rejected suggestions during cross-examination that the atmosphere inside the vehicle was jovial or that her behaviour was “playful” or “high-spirited”.

Four of the five men are before the Central Criminal court and have pleaded not guilty to 18 counts of sexual assault, rape and false imprisonment of the woman on December 27th, 2016. The fifth man is not before the court.

Both the woman and the defendants are entitled to anonymity under the 1981 Rape Act.

The trial has heard that on the night the woman accepted an offer of a lift from the five men after she had heard her name called from inside the vehicle. She got in and it drove off.

On her third day of cross examination, Colman Cody SC, for one of the accused, suggested the atmosphere inside the car had been “jovial”.

“I don’t remember it being overly jovial,” the woman said.

She was reminded that she had told gardaí when they interviewed her on January 8th, 2017 that at an early stage of the journey, when the driver appeared to be lost, she had offered to drive the car. She said this was “kind of funny because I was only learning to drive”.

“I don’t know what my reason for asking to drive was,” said the woman.

“It sounds playful,” remarked Mr Cody.

She agreed with Hugh Hartnett, SC, for another defendant, that when she was in the car, she also accepted an offer of a vape cigarette even though she did not smoke.

“It does suggest friendly activity — high spirited, good form on everybody’s part,” he said.

“That was before anything happened,” the woman replied.

She has described several of the men putting their hands up her dress or onto her breasts on the way to a remote location. She has alleged that at that location each of the five sexually assaulted and raped her.

‘Badgered’

She has alleged that she was forced to give and receive oral sex in different locations in a car park in the midlands town before she was able to leave the car and flee to a friend’s house. She was “badgered” for oral sex, she said.

Asked if any of the oral sex that ensued, both on her and by her, was consensual, she replied: “Absolutely not.”

Told by Seamus Clarke SC, for another accused, that his client believed all sexual acts with him were consensual, the woman replied: “Absolutely not. Again, that’s a lie.”

Mr Cody said his client asserted that sexual activity in the front seat of the car, and again at the remote area was consensual, the woman replied: “Absolutely not. . . neither of those acts were consensual by any means.”

When the car arrived at the remote area where each of the five men is alleged to have raped the woman in turn, Mr Cody asked was the woman not concerned.

“Did you ask why are we stopped here, what are we doing here?” he asked.

“No, I don’t know why I didn’t ask,” she replied.

“But the fact of the matter is you didn’t,” remarked Mr Cody.

The woman said: “I didn’t think it would make any difference if I asked why are we stopped here.”

She denied giving the car driver a kiss when she eventually left the vehicle.

Asked why, when she was free, she initially wanted to go to sleep and not call the guards, as friends insisted she do, she replied: “I didn’t want my parents to know ...because I was stupid enough to get into a car with people I didn’t know. I wasn’t raised like that...It sounds funny, but I didn’t want to bring it home.”

In the event, she indicated that her parents had been very supportive.

Significant

Mr Hartnett said his client asserted that he knew the woman’s name from engagement on Tinder and Facebook. He asked if his client had asked her to be friends. The woman said he had not.

“I’m waiting to find out [how he knew my name],” she replied.

“I’m going to suggest to you that is how,” said Mr Hartnett.

“I have no recollection of that,” said the woman.

The fact that the woman could not explain why she had moved from the back seat of the car into the front, and back again was “significant,” said Mr Hartnett.

“That is by far not the most significant thing,” retorted the woman.

Mr Hartnett suggested there was no “inappropriate touching” of her when she initially got into the back seat.

“There was,” said the woman. “That’s why I got into the front seat.”

The trial continues before Ms Justice Tara Burns and a jury of five women and seven men.