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29 Jun 2022

Court told Limerick men convicted of raping teenage girl 'do not accept' jury verdict

Court told Limerick men convicted of raping teenage girl 'do not accept' jury verdict

The Criminal Courts of Justice, Dublin

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED

A WOMAN has told the Central Criminal Court that her rape by two men in a field in Co Clare five years ago changed her from being a carefree child to a frightened guilt-ridden victim.

The two Limerick men were convicted, following a trial last November, of raping the then 14-year-old on the night of April 22, 2017. They were aged 22 and 21 at the time.

Both of them denied raping the girl and told gardaí that they believed she was aged 16 at the time. The court heard there was evidence that the age profile of the group of friends the girl was in was 14 to 16.

The 27-year-old defendant, who was 22 at the time, was convicted on the single count of rape. His co-accused, who is 26, and was 21 at the time, was convicted of rape and an additional charge of sexual assault.

The men, who denied all the charges, cannot be identified in order to protect the statutory anonymity of the complainant.

The court heard that on the night in question the girl was drinking as usual with her group of friends and that the two defendants met them and joined them.

At some point in the night the victim's friends dispersed and she was left with the two men. She told gardaí later that she was very drunk and had limited memory of where she was.

She said “she was in a mess”. She said she was passed out and woke up to find the 21-year-old taking down her leggings and with his mouth on her genital area.

She said she was falling in and out of consciousness and came to again a little later to find the 21-year-old raping her. She said when he finished, he said to the other man “it's your turn”.

She said this man began raping her while the first man masturbated. She said that after both men had ejaculated she walked back with them across the fields to a nearby residential area where they were met by her mother and other people who were looking for her.

Alice Fawsitt SC, prosecuting, told the court “she knew she was in trouble then, she was in a mess, she was extremely drunk”. She said her mother was extremely cross and the complainant said nothing about the sexual activity.

A week later she feared she was pregnant and bought a test. This came back negative but her mother found the packaging and confronted the girl who told her she had been raped.

In her victim impact statement the girl said that rumours spread in the locality and she became marked as “the girl who was raped” and that some people said “vulgar things” about her.

She said she and her family decided to leave the area to get away from this.

She said she had left her home on the night of the rapes “a bubbly fun-loving outgoing kid” and came home “a frightened confused guilt-ridden victim”.

She said her family had to uproot their lives. She said she still feels shame and anxiety as a result of the events that night.

Lawyers for both men told the court that their clients do not accept the jury verdicts and continue to protest their innocence.

Counsel for the younger defendant said his client feels hard done by and wronged by the conviction.   He said his client is a young man who has started a family since these events and has held down a job.

Counsel for the now 27-year-old asked the court to consider that he is still  a relatively a young man and has no other relevant criminal convictions.

Ms Justice Eileen Creedon adjourned sentencing to May 9 next.

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