Witness in Limerick rape trial was in "extreme shock" at allegations

Fiona Ferguson


Fiona Ferguson

Witness in Limerick rape trial was in

The trial continues at the Central Criminal Court

THE trial of a man who is accused of raping a woman at a pub in Limerick city, resumes later today at the Central Criminal Court.

The accused man denies raping the woman in back-office of the pub during the early hours of November 10, 2012.

On Friday, a witness described how he was in “extreme shock” after a woman he had arranged to meet in a bar told him his friend of twenty years had “forced himself on her” during the evening.

The alleged victim has told the trial that she was on a date with another man when the accused brought her into the back office to show her the CCTV system which she found “fascinating”. She said it was here that she was “brutally, brutally raped.”

The witness described how had brought the “upset and agitated” woman home that night at her request after asking her if she wanted to go to the hospital or gardaí.

He said he spoke to the accused man in the days afterwards and his friend categorically denied forcing himself on the woman. He said the accused man told him they had kissed.

The witness told Paul Coffey SC, prosecuting, that he had been friends with the accused man for twenty years.

He told the court he had met the complainant for the first time in the smoking area of the same bar the week before the alleged rape.

He said he had been taking down the name of a website his friends were talking about in his notebook when the woman took it and wrote her number down.

The man said he called her and they made an arrangement to meet in the bar the following week. He said they spent the majority of the night in each other's company but some with friends.

He told Sean Gillane SC, defending, that they had been kissing “on and off” through the evening. He said when numbers dwindled in the bar they discussed going somewhere “more discrete” to continue kissing.

The man said they went into the disabled toilets where they kissed “passionately”, laughed, joked and held each other for about 15 minutes. He said there appeared to be an attraction and they had a nice night out.

He disagreed with the woman's sequence of events that she had been intending to go to the toilet by herself when he had taken her by surprise, pushing the toilet door in behind her and setting about groping her.

He denied he had told the woman she was “gagging for it”. He said it would be against his nature to say something like this.

The man said they discussed meeting up again before going back into the bar and rejoining friends. He said he did not see her leave the area but later saw the woman at the front of the bar. He agreed the woman was upset and that she apologised to him.

He told her she had nothing to apologise to him for and she said the accused had “forced himself on her.”

“I had never been in a situation like that, I was in extreme shock, it came out of nowhere for me,” he said.

He said she asked him to bring her home and at the house asked him to come in. He said he was trying to make sense of what was going on. They went inside and she asked him to put on the kettle while she changed into the PJ's upstairs and brought down a duvet.

He said they had tea and she asked him not to tell anyone or discuss the matter with her daughter or daughter's friend who were sleeping upstairs. He said she didn't want to discuss it anymore and spoke about meeting up again at a later date.

The man said the woman started kissing him and although he was “taken aback” he kissed her back. He said it had been his intention to leave but that they both drifted off to sleep on the sofa.

He said he woke about 9.30am the next morning and the woman was already awake. She had been upstairs talking with her daughter. He said her daughter was angry and wanted answers.

The man denied persistently ringing the woman during December and encouraging her not to go to gardaí.

He agreed that he later met his friend as he was “flummoxed” by the allegations. He agreed his friend was very upset and appeared “absolutely” sincere.

The witness agreed he told gardaí that he did not think his friend was “that kind of person.”

“I know him twenty years, I do not think it's in any way shape or form any part of his make up,” he told the court.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan and a jury.