Barrister apologises to alleged rape victim after asking her about "promiscuity"

George Frederic Handel Hotel
George Frederic Handel Hotel

A barrister defending a rape accused has apologised to the alleged victim after asking her about her alleged “promiscuity”.

The lawyer's client, a 27-year-old Dublin man, is alleged to have raped the woman in a room at the George Frederic Handel Hotel, Fishamble Street, Dublin in the early hours of March 27, 2012.

His co-accused, a 40-year-old Dublin man, is alleged to have watched during the rape and to have threatened the woman if she reported the attack to gardaí. Both men, who are legally entitled to anonymity unless convicted, have pleaded not guilty to charges of rape.

On day three of the trial Feargal Kavanagh SC, for the first man, put it to the alleged victim that difficulties in her home life had “related to your promiscuity when you were a very young girl”.

He explained that this could mean engaging in inappropriate sexual activity. She replied that she had first slept with somebody when she was 16. She testified that her relationship with the father of her daughter started when she was aged 14 and ended six years ago.

Counsel then asked the woman about decorating her private parts with glitter stickers. Shortly after Mr Kavanagh apologised to the woman for using the word “promiscuity”.

The woman has given evidence that after meeting the two men in a pub she went to help them get a hotel room for the night. She said they were afraid they would be refused a room because they are Travellers.

She said once she got them a room she went up there with them but never intended to stay or to have sex. She said the first man then raped while the second man laughed and smirked.

Mr Kavanagh put it to the witness that it was his client's position that after she went back to the hotel they had consensual sex and that she only became upset afterwards because she learned he was married.

You stormed off. That's the reason you made the allegation.”

The woman replied: “No, definitely not.”

Mr Kavanagh put it to the woman that after they had consensual sex, his client went for a shower and she then had an altercation with the co-accused.

You arose when you learned their wives were on the phone. You learned he was married and had children”.

She denied this was the case. She said: “Why would I care if he was married”. She previously testified that she had kissed the accused twice earlier in the evening but that she didn't “fancy” him.

She said: “I kissed him. It didn’t mean I wanted to have sex with him”.

Counsel put it to her that she has a history of psychiatric difficulties which include engaging in risky behaviour and impulsivity with no considerations for the consequences.

The woman told the jury that was her past.

Conor Devally SC, defending the second man, put it to the woman that she knew the men were getting a room because one of them wanted to be with her.

He said his client went into the shower immediately on entering the hotel room because it was obvious “the two of you were about to have sex”. She denied this.

Counsel said when his client came out of the bathroom and back into the room he remarked, “would you not hurry up”. He said she was unhappy with this.

You had a blazing row. He said we're off now. We're leaving. You felt humiliated by that,” counsel said. The witness denied this version of events.

Mr Devally asked the woman had it occurred to her to go home instead of helping the men to get a hotel room. She said it didn't and said that she met them because her female friend had asked her.

Her friend knew the men and had introduced them earlier. This woman had gone back to her own homeless hostel and could not leave. The alleged victim said that she met the men because her friend asked her and she did it “as a favour”.

I didn't think I was walking into anything,” she said.

A key worker in a city centre homeless hostel testified that the complainant appeared upset and in pain when she returned to the hostel later that night.

She said that the complainant was unhappy about notifying the guards and she commented that the two men were travellers and “knew where she lived”.

Garda Barry Purcell told the jury that when he arrived at the hostel the victim was hysterical and was leaning to one side and appeared to be in physical pain. Garda Louise Pepper said when she arrived at the hostel the victim was shaking and crying.

The hostel key worker said that on the following evening the complainant became hysterical after receiving a text message.

She was terrified She didn't want to stay there because she feared for her safety.” The hostel worker arranged for a taxi to take the woman to her aunt's home.

The jury heard that after this incident the complainant's friend came to the hostel looking for the complainant. She said this woman appeared nervous. She said there was a car parked across the road.

Garda Purcell testified that he later went to this car and the two accused men were in the car and identified themselves. They told Garda Purcell they were waiting for the complainant and wanted to speak to her and she was not answering her phone.

The garda said he asked them a few more questions and then asked them to move on and they did so.

The trial continues before Justice Margaret Heneghan and a jury of eight men and four women.