Man appeals conviction for Dublin beach rape
A father-of-three has appealed against his conviction for raping a woman on a Dublin beach, where they had gone on a date.
The 38-year-old, who cannot be named to protect his victim’s identity, was jailed for six and a half years for raping the woman in the back of his car.
They had met online and had begun a sexual relationship. However, his victim did not know that he had a partner and three children, until he went on trial at the Central Criminal Court last year.
He pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault on October 29, 2015. A jury found him guilty of the rape, but disagreed on the count of sexual assault.
Ms Justice Tara Burns sentenced him to eight years imprisonment but suspended the final 18 months of the sentence.
She remarked that every woman was entitled to say ‘no’ at any stage of a sexual encounter, and to withdraw consent at any stage. She said that, even if one took the view that the sexual acts proceeding the rape were consensual, this did not assist the accused at all.
He today (Thursday) appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeal.
His barrister, Michael Bowman SC, noted that the case had centred upon the issue of consent. He said that his grounds of appeal were also focused on consent, and that the trial judge had erred in law in her directions to the jury on this issue. He submitted that she had failed to adequately deal with the subjective perception of his client, and to properly deal with such matters when then raised by his client’s counsel.
Mr Bowman argued that the jury did not then have a proper appreciation of matters that might lead to a subjective appraisal that there was consent.
Roisin Lacey SC responded on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). She said that the judge had very clearly directed the jury in relation to consent at the time. She added that the judge had explained to the jury that what was of concern was the accused’s state of mind in relation to consent, not the reasonable person’s state of mind. She asked the court to dismiss the appeal.
During sentence, Ms Justice Burns said that a previous conviction for deception was clearly relevant for understanding the man’s character, as the victim had no idea he had a partner and children until the trial began. She noted that, as a result the offence, the accused and his partner were no longer together.
In her victim impact statement, which was read out in court, the victim said she felt like the rape was her fault after it happened. She said she felt worthless and dropped out of college.
The woman said that after the rape she no longer wanted anything inside her, including food. She said that when she had to eat she would make herself sick and she “ran off” every calorie she consumed.
“He was walking around as if nothing had happened and I was suffering,” she told the court. She said that she sold her car as she could not bear to drive it and “just knowing he was in it made me sick.”
“I will never be free from what he has done to me,” she said.
Mr Justice John Edwards, presiding with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, today reserved judgment. He said a decision would be ready in the coming weeks.