Man found guilty of raping 14-year-old girl at teen disco when he was 15-years-old
A jury has found a Donegal man guilty of raping a 14-year-old girl at a teenage disco when he was a 15 years old.
The 20-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the victim's anonymity, was alleged to have pushed the girl into the ladies toilets and raped her in a cubicle.
The pair were seen kissing shortly before the incident after his friends and her own girl friends had encouraged her to “meet”, or kiss, during the youth disco.
The man pleaded not (NOT) guilty at the Central Criminal Court to rape and sexual assault of the girl at a nightclub in a Co Donegal town on December 23, 2010.
The jury of seven men and five women returned the unanimous verdicts of guilty on both charges after deliberating for just over two hours.
Before the jury began deliberating Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan had instructed it that, while consent was a constituent legal factor in rape, a person under 15 could not consent.
Ms Justice Heneghan told the jury that where a person below a certain age engaged in sexual activity it would not be consent even if the person appeared an enthusiastic participant.
The man's defence had put it to the woman that the couple were “shifting” at the disco and had gone to the toilet for privacy where “they were fondling and it got out of hand”. The woman denied this version of events.
The woman gave evidence that during the youth disco the boy's friends asked her to “go with” the accused, meaning to kiss him. She said she refused repeatedly but finally gave in and sat beside him.
A witness told gardaí that they were “sitting in the corner shifting” and she was “sitting on his lap facing him”. The woman told Peter Finlay SC, defending, that this account was not true.
She said she was very “nervous and naive” about sitting with the boy and that she sat to his left and that they were kissing.
The accused kept putting his hand up her skirt and she kept pushing it away and told him to stop. She then told him she wanted to go find her friends in the smoking area.
He walked with her towards this area, holding her hand. She said she thought they were going to find her friends until he pushed her into the toilets.
She didn't know what was happening and asked him to let her out as he took her into a cubicle.
“He had me up against the wall. He pulled down my underwear. I tried to pull them back up but he had me pinned,” she testified.
She said he pulled down his trousers and raped her. She had never had sex before, that it hurt and felt “excruciating” and she was screaming and crying.
A female friend of the victim met her afterwards and saw she was upset. She confronted the accused on the night and he told her he had done nothing. When she “kept at him” he told her, “yeah, she said yeah”.
The accused told gardaí that he had no recollection of being in the girls' toilet in the nightclub.
Cross examining the woman, Mr Finlay said: “The two of you were fondling each other and it got out of hand. He sat on the toilet and you sat on top of him and you both tried to do something but failed”. The woman denied this is what happened.
The judge remanded the accused in custody after Sergeant Angela Cummins told the court that he had previously breached the conditions of his bail a number of times.
He will be sentenced in March when a victim impact report and an assessment of the accused by the Probation Services will be provided to the court.
Ms Justice Heneghan asked the lawyers to inform the court on that date of any case law pertaining to sexual offences committed by an accused of a young age. Gerard Clarke SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said he didn't think there would be much case law in that area but they would provide what existed.