NewsCrime Desk

Man acquitted of rape jailed for assault

Man acquitted of rape jailed for assault

A young man who was acquitted of raping an acquaintance at a house party but found guilty of assaulting her has been jailed for a year.

The 21-year-old Sligo man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, went on trial in the Central Criminal Court last month charged with rape and assault causing harm in Sligo on June 26, 2014. He pleaded not guilty.

The jury found him not guilty of rape but guilty of assaulting the woman, who was bitten during the incident.

Sentencing the man today, Mr Justice Paul Butler said the victim had given a moving victim impact statement on the effect the incident had on her.

He said the effect the incident had on the woman was mostly related to the rape allegation but he had to sentence on the assault offence alone.

“There was no excuse for the accused's behaviour,” Mr Justice Butler said, noting the explanation given by the man was that he was very drunk. He said the man had a problem with alcohol and has not had a drink since that night.

He handed down a two-year sentence but suspended the final year on a number of conditions.

The investigating garda previously told the sentence hearing that the victim, then aged 18, was home alone for the weekend and had a house party. She wasn't drinking but most of the others, including the accused man, were drinking heavily.

The court heard that at around 2.30am in the kitchen, the man tried to pull down the woman's shorts in the kitchen in front of a number of other young men before saying, “Come on and I'll ride ya”.

He held her down and bit her on her back, shoulders and neck. Later he sat on top of her and bit and licked her face, before another man came to her aid and told the accused to leave her alone.

The woman noticed there was blood on her clothing and went upstairs to change. The man followed her upstairs and pushed her on the bed, biting her and licking her again.

When interviewed by gardaí, the man said it was all lies and denied he bit the woman. He later acknowledged he bit her but said it happened after she bit him.

He has seven previous convictions, including for violent disorder, theft and public order offences.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she had suffered a “huge amount of stress” as a result of the assault. She said she suffered paralysing stomach pains, didn't feel safe anymore and was afraid to leave the house on her own.

She said she still feels humiliated, has suicidal thoughts and fears she will never be able to function in her everyday life.