Defence given permission to question girl (14) about sexual history

Rapist given 10 years after trial in which girl’s cross-examination lasted 2½ days

In a trial over alleged rape, the defence used posts from a teenage girl’s text messages and Facebook posts in an attempt to disprove her story. File photograph (posed by model): iStockPhoto

In a trial over alleged rape, the defence used posts from a teenage girl’s text messages and Facebook posts in an attempt to disprove her story. File photograph (posed by model): iStockPhoto

 

In 2015, Martin Stokes (26) of Kinnegad, Co Westmeath, claimed in the Central Criminal Court that the 14-year-old girl he raped in a field as she walked to her friend’s house was a willing sexual partner.

During the trial, his defence counsel was granted permission to question the girl on previous sexual experience.

The defence used posts from the girl’s text messages and Facebook posts in an attempt to disprove her story. They presented one post by the girl which read “can’t believe I lost my best friend over a lad” which was uploaded after the rape and referred to a fight she had had with her friend over a boy from their peer group.

It looks like that but I didn’t do it. Maybe I was trying to act cool to my friends at the time and I was silly and stupid

Text messages

During 2½ days of cross-examination the defence also presented evidence of text messages from 2011 referring to her performing oral sex. She denied that she had carried out the acts, saying: “It looks like that but I didn’t do it. Maybe I was trying to act cool to my friends at the time and I was silly and stupid.”

The Central Criminal Court in Dublin. Sentencing Martin Stokes of Kinnegad, Co Westmeath, to 10 years in prison, Mr Justice Carroll Moran said he had never seen such “obvious mendacity” from a defendant. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
The Central Criminal Court in Dublin. Sentencing Martin Stokes of Kinnegad, Co Westmeath, to 10 years in prison, Mr Justice Carroll Moran said he had never seen such “obvious mendacity” from a defendant. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, told the jury that these messages were part of the “unreality of social media”.

She said: “You should bear in mind that human beings have always lied about sexual experience. In my days, the lies were about what boys you kissed.”

The jury convicted Stokes after a 17-day trial.

If he continues to protest his innocence he cannot be surprised when no one believes him because of his history of lying

Sentencing him to 10 years in prison, Mr Justice Carroll Moran said he had never seen such “obvious mendacity” from a defendant.

“If he continues to protest his innocence he cannot be surprised when no one believes him because of his history of lying,” the judge said.

In other cases judges have been quick to refuse permission for a victim to be questioned on their sexual history.

Faisal Ellahi’s legal team sought permission last year to ask a woman with Down syndrome if she had kissed any boys before Ellahi raped her after she became separated from her mother on the street.

A visibly annoyed Mr Justice Tony Hunt refused permission on the basis that it was not relevant to the trial.

Ellahi, of Haripur, Pakistan was later convicted and jailed for 13 years.