Jury acquits man accused of raping woman who has since died

Judge thanks jury for their diligence in trying ‘difficult’ and ‘unusual’ case

State alleged the offence happened on January 14th, 2017. Photograph: Dave Meehan

State alleged the offence happened on January 14th, 2017. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

A 42-year-old man has been found not guilty of raping a 30-year-old woman who has since died but who made a complaint against the accused within days of spending time with him in Cork city.

The jury of seven men and five women at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork took just over five hours to acquit the accused of a total of six charges including two of rape, three of aggravated sexual assault and one of possessing a broken bottle in a manner likely to intimidate.

The State alleged the offence happened on January 14th, 2017, at the rented home in Cork city of a 49-year-old man who was the key witness for the prosecution in the absence of the complainant, who died some time later.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt had ruled the statement of the complainant was inadmissible after defence counsel successfully argued that it should be excluded as the complainant was not available to be cross-examined about it.

The witness said he saw the accused lunge at the woman, catching her by the throat before breaking a bottle of wine off the bed and threatening her.

The witness said “she was telling him to stop”, adding “I did not know it was actual rape until the next morning ... until the allegation was made”.

The accused admitted having sexual relations with the woman but he insisted the sex was consensual.

Mr Justice Hunt thanked the jury for their diligence in trying the case, noting it had been a difficult and unusual case given the absence of the complainant.