Two men who tried to rape woman on mattress in van lose appeal against conviction
Two men jailed for the attempted rape of a woman in a van - which had a mattress in the back - after she got separated from friends on a night out, have lost appeals against their convictions.
The two men aged 22 and 24, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, along with a third man (22) ultimately found not guilty on all counts, had denied the rape, attempted rape, oral rape and sexual assault of a woman at an unknown location in Cork on September 13, 2009.
A Central Criminal Court jury unanimously found the 22-year-old guilty of attempted rape, sexual assault and oral rape and the 24-year-old unanimously guilty of attempted rape and sexual assault on November 7 2012 following a nine day trial.
The charges of vaginal rape against all three accused were dropped during the trial because of the woman's evidence that the men had not penetrated her despite them telling gardai that they had.
Mr Justice Paul Carney jailed both men for ten years each on January 31, 2013.
Dismissing the mens' appeals against conviction today Mr Justice Alan Mahon said their trial was conducted in “exemplary fashion” and their convictions should stand.
The convicted men were aged 16 and 18 at the time, while the woman was 31.
She had been out socialising with friends on the night in question when she became separated from her group, the judge said, and she somehow ended up in the back of the then 18-year-old's van - but denied hitching a lift because she had ample money.
The van had a mattress in the back and there were four males present, aged 18, 16, 15 and 11, the judge said.
“These individuals attempted various sexual relations with her while she was in the van,” the judgment stated.
She testified that the first man to enter the back of the van successfully forced his penis into her mouth without her consent before he exited the van and another man entered.
The second man lay on top of her and attempted unsuccessfully to penetrate her vagina with his penis, the judgment stated.
When the second male finished, the judgment stated, the others got into the van and it began to drive away.
She was dropped off close to her home, having suffered extensive bruising to her arms, legs and torso. Money was stolen from her handbag along with her car keys – the 22-year-old pleaded guilty to stealing her car at the outset of the trial.
The two men appealed their convictions on grounds that the trial judge erred in law during the course of the trial in such a way that rendered their convictions unsafe and unsatisfactory.
Mr Justice Mahon said the three-judge court was satisfied that the mens' convictions should stand, saying “in general terms, an overview of the manner in which this trial was conducted strongly indicates that it was a trial conducted in exemplary fashion” by Mr Justice Carney.
Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, accordingly dismissed the appeal.
The two men are due to appeal their sentences at a later date.
- Ruaidhrí Giblin