Rape charges dropped against three cousins accused of 'back of a van' incident01/11/2012 - 18:38:53
Rape charges have being dropped today against three men who were accused of taking part in a gang rape.
The three still face charges of the oral rape, attempted rape and sexual assault of the woman (aged 34). They were aged 15, 16 and 18 when the alleged offences took place.
At the conclusion of the prosecution’s case, Mr Justice Paul Carney told the jury that he was withdrawing the counts of rape because they could not stand up legally on the evidence of the complainant.
The alleged victim previously gave evidence that she was orally raped by one man before another man lay on top of her and attempted to have sex with her. She said he did not penetrate her.
The three Cork men have pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to four charges each of rape, oral rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault of a woman at an unknown location in Cork on Sept 13, 2009. They are now aged 19, 19 and 21.
It is the State’s case that the three cousins were involved in a joint enterprise and that they attacked the woman in the back of their van after offering her a lift home late at night.
On the fifth day of the trial, the jury heard the youngest accused tell gardaí that he had sex with the woman first, but denied raping her. He said he believed his cousin later “kinda forced” her to have sex.
During a videotaped interview played in court he told Sergeant Gearoid Davis that the woman had “no problem” with him.
Sgt Davis put it to him that it was “hard to believe” that a 31-year-old woman would have sex with a teenage boy and his friends.
The accused said: “It might not sound right but it's exactly what happened.”
He added: “I knew what I was doing. I didn't want to but I knew I'd be slagged, they'd say I was gay”.
Asked if anything happened between him and the alleged victim that would constitute rape, he answered: “No, nothing. I didn't force her”.
He said there was no rough elements to the sex and that he didn't rip her clothes.
He told gardaí that “she had no problem with me”. The jury has heard medical evidence detailing cuts and bruises on the woman’s chest, back and four limbs hours after the alleged incident.
The accused said he was the first in the back, followed by the 16-year-old and then the eldest accused.
He said that while the third man was with her he heard the woman saying no. He said the third man then said: “What do you mean no, you done it with the other two boys? Why not me?”.
He said he and the second man started laughing at this.
He said at one stage he heard the woman say: “Bring me home first and I'll do it when we get to my house”.
He said that the man lay down on top of her and said that he heard the sound of something ripping. He said the woman had sex with this man but that he “kinda forced” her. He said that she “wasn't screaming or nothing” and wasn't saying anything.
Asked by Sgt Davis why he didn't stop his cousin he said: “There's no point. He'd beat me up. He's too old for me”.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of seven women and five men.
The youngest said when the driver then asked for directions to her home the woman came up to the front seat with her jeans in her hands. He said she put her jeans on there and gave the driver directions.
He said that after they dropped the woman off he asked the third man if he had hit her and he said he had “hit her a few clouts”.
He said he didn't ask why but he assumed it was because she wouldn't have sex with him.
He said that before picking up the woman they were just “spinning” or driving around and that they had not planned anything.
He told gardaí he thought the woman was right to report what the oldest accused did but not what he and the other man did.
He described as “lies” and “b***shit” the woman's statement that at one stage during the alleged assault there were more than two men in the back.
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