Rape victim's horror as attacker walks free
A rape victim who watched her attacker walk free from court with a suspended sentence today said she will never trust the justice system again.
The devastated woman, who said she was the one put on trial, was even forced to travel back to her home town on the same train as convicted rapist Adam Keane.
The 33-year-old had vowed to take her fight for justice and a tougher sentence to the Director of Public Prosecutions and Minister for Justice Michael McDowell.
“I will never ever again trust the justice system to do right after a wrong has been committed,” she said, slamming the sentence handed down to the 20-year-old bricklayer.
In February a jury convicted Keane, from Daragh, Co Clare, of raping the woman at her home on May 30, 2005.
He had broken into her home and climbed into bed with her while her three children slept in the next room.
DNA evidence linked Keane to the scene, but following his arrest he told gardaí he could not remember anything as he blacked out after drinking heavily and taking ecstasy in a nightclub.
Yesterday, at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Paul Carney handed the rapist a three-year suspended sentence.
Shortly beforehand, the same judge – sitting in the same courtroom – had jailed rapist Joseph Cummins for 15 years for raping a 75-year-old widow.
The victim, who is deaf, said she could not hear his barrister’s defence or the judge’s comments, and did not even know he was free to leave until her sister started crying and told her.
“I am devastated,” the woman, whose name was given as Mary, told RTÉ’s Liveline programme.
“I really didn’t want it go to court in February in the first place.
“It was the hardest week of my life, to go up in that stand and give every detail of my life explored by the DPP and his barrister and when he was found guilty I was so relieved and I really believed justice would be done.
“But yesterday it wasn’t. T here was no justice done for me at all and now I’m back to square one where I was when I first got raped.
“I feel worse now.”
Mr Justice Carney said his sentence was based on a previous ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeal following an appeal in relation to a similar sentence in which the sentence was set aside entirely.
Mary said that after the attack she and her children had to leave their home, where they had lived for nine years, and moved back in with her parents because she was too afraid to live on her own.
They have since moved home twice.
“I’m just devastated that someone could commit such an horrendous crime and they can basically make that decision and walk free,” she continued.
“He had no reason ever to be in my house. He broke into my house and raped me while I slept and while my three children were in the bedroom next door.
“I feel so let down by the whole justice system.
“Even though I was the victim I was the one that had to go on trial. Adam Keane did not have to stand up there and defend his actions.
“He just sat there for five days. That was it, while my life was thorn asunder and I had to give evidence.”
The victim’s sister, identified on air as Martina (not her real name), said Keane’s barrister had argued that his client’s name had been ruined in media reports and that he planned to move to England.
“Should he be allowed to live an anonymous life in England, to be free to do what he wants?” she asked.
“His barrister is putting across that this man had suffered enough practically by being named in the local papers and local radio station.
“It is horrendous if that is the justice we get, that a few people know he raped my sister, the world should know he is a rapist.
“We don’t want revenge. We want justice to be done for the crime he committed.”
Martina said when her sister was raped it felt like someone in the family had been killed.
She said after the sentencing she sat in the courtroom in in disbelief that this could happen in Ireland in 2007.
“When we saw him at the station yesterday morning we thought: 'He won’t be going home tonight. He will be going to jail tonight for what he did, for raping my sister,'” she continued.
“But Adam Keane walked. He was a free man yesterday. It’s my sister that feels like she is the criminal.
“We had to walk past him to get to our seats on the train to travel home again, a three-and-a-half-hour journey. It was absolutely horrendous.
“It’s no wonder so many rape victims don’t come forward when this is what’s happening.”